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Behind the Scenes: CCMOW Volunteer Program

Coal Creek Meals on Wheels works with over 250 volunteers each year to ensure that all of our neighbors can access nutritious meals. Our volunteers prepare and serve food in our kitchen, prepare all of the food for delivery, deliver the meals, and provide critical socialization with many of our homebound clients or those who live alone. Coordinating all of these volunteers is no easy feat, but our Volunteer Coordinator, Luna Collins, is truly up for the task. Read below to learn what a "typical" day as the CCMOW Volunteer Coordinator looks like.

Luna started at Coal Creek Meals on Wheels in July of 2023. She has experience from several corners of the food system including organic farming and gleaning, farm and food education, and nutrition benefits assistance & food banking. She was drawn to this field because of the way that growing, cultivating, preparing, and sharing food together builds community. Facilitating these kinds of connections brings her a lot of joy. She is inspired by the care and intention that CCMOW volunteers bring to their work. Luna also enjoys gardening, working on various homesteading projects, and finding beautiful outdoor places to snack.

What does a typical day as a Volunteer Coordinator look like?

No two days are quite the same, as relationships are central to the role. In the morning, I typically check in with the volunteers who organize and bag the daily home delivered meals before looking for any cancellations from delivery drivers and café volunteers, finding substitutes for any last-minute openings. Our Sous Chef typically brings in warm cookies around this time, which I taste-test before placing on the volunteer table.

At any given time, there are a handful of volunteers at various stages of the onboarding process, and I communicate with each new applicant to (hopefully) find a role that works for them and for CCMOW. I respond to feedback from volunteers about their roles, their interpersonal relationships, responsibilities and boundaries, and I try to contribute to the sense of community among volunteers as well as CCMOW staff by setting norms of open communication and follow-through.

When I’m not addressing immediate needs, I work on projects that I hope will contribute to the longer-term sustainability of the CCMOW volunteer program. This includes planning volunteer gatherings and educational opportunities, updating systems and processes, and determining how the volunteer program might most effectively grow and change over time to best serve the evolving needs of the community we serve as well as our evolving community of volunteers.

Who are the CCMOW volunteers, and where do they come from?

CCMOW volunteers come from all different places and backgrounds. Most have had an interaction with a Meals on Wheels organization somewhere in the country at some time in their life before finding Coal Creek MOW. Often, they’ve had a parent or friend who has received and/or delivered meals. They care about the health and well-being of others, and they enjoy spending time contributing to that mission each week by checking in with clients while delivering meals, being conscious of dietary restrictions while preparing food in the kitchen and packing meals, making clients feel welcome while serving in the café, representing CCMOW, encouraging friends to volunteer, and more.

What is your favorite part about working for Coal Creek Meals on Wheels?

My favorite part about working for CCMOW is being in community with the volunteers and staff! The way that volunteers and staff show concern for specific clients with whom they have developed a relationship and the way that volunteers connect with one another before or after their volunteer shift are some expressions of the feeling of mutual care.

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