Meals on Wheels Expands to West End, Seven Lakes

Meals on Wheels of the Sandhills Volunteer Patrice Sutton prepares to make deliveries. Photo by Penny Jeffrey.

By Maggie Beamguard

Insider Editor

Meals on Wheels of the Sandhills is celebrating its 50th year serving Moore County under the leadership of its new executive director, Penny Jeffrey. And she has big plans.

At the organization’s Juniper Lake Road kitchen, The Meals on Wheels kitchen coordinator and a small group of volunteers prepare 94 hot noonday meals, 470 meals a week, for residents in need in Moore County. The primary recipients are located along nine routes in Aberdeen, Pine Bluff, Pinehurst and Southern Pines. 

“We noticed that people are starting to call for the Seven Lakes and West End region,” said Jeffrey. The demand for meals is driving an expansion for a 10th route in the area.

“It’s my understanding that the organization has wanted to move into Seven Lakes for a while, and now as the new executive director, I’m saying we’re going to do it.” 

The process for creating a new route is a big undertaking as the organization relies exclusively on volunteers. Until the volunteers can be recruited, the organization is partnering with DoorDash through their non-profit leg, Project DASH to support the deliveries. 

Project DASH will work with Meals on Wheels to make low-cost deliveries to recipients until driver volunteers can fulfill the demand. The ultimate goal of the non profit will be to eliminate the low cost deliveries in favor of volunteer drivers. 

Jeffrey is putting the word out to Seven Lakes and West End folks who are looking for a new volunteer role. 

Volunteer drivers can participate whether they have two hours once a week to give or two hours once a month. Each route delivers about 12 to 14 meals. 

“We appreciate any amount of time that can be given to us, whether it’s once a week, once a month or as a substitute driver,” she said. “We do need to acquire enough drivers to fill a route, so that means we would need five to ten people and the routes are set to be a one hour drive time. That does not include delivery of the meal because some people will actually knock on the door and talk with them for a few minutes.”

For many clients, that social interaction is as meaningful as the meal. 

There are currently 10 people on the waiting list for Seven Lakes and West End. Jeffrey hopes this newest route will be up and running by June. 

After West End, Jeffrey anticipates further growth. “There’s a large part of the county we can’t get to right now. I would say our 10 year goal is to reach everybody.”

Meals on Wheels serves partially or fully homebound residents of Moore County who are unable to prepare meals for themselves or don’t have someone to prepare meals for them. They serve young adults with disabilities all the way up to a 100 year old client. 

“There are all kinds of people living in need. You can have great wealth and prosperity and still not be able to attain a healthy hot meal and likewise, you may not be able to pay an electric bill, but we can still help with food. We’re just really here to make sure we serve those in need of meals.” 

Those interested in learning more about Meals on Wheels or volunteering can call Jeffrey at (910) 704-9810 or check out its Facebook page at Meals on Wheels of the Sandhills.

Contact Maggie Beamguard at