TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Mobile Meals of Tucson has served people who are homebound because of disease and disability for more than 40 years.
The program will reach a new milestone on Wednesday when a volunteer driver drops off the 100,000th meal of the year.
Before Mobile Meals started delivering to her apartment, Ofelia Elias depended on her nephew.
"He used to go out and get TV dinners for me, but they don't compare," Elias said.
The Saint Mary's hospital kitchen is one of eight in Tucson that slices, sautees and serves fresh meals five days a week.
Funding from the community, county and city subsidize the cost for clients.
"The majority of them pay only a small percentage of the money that it costs to deliver," Mobile Meals of Tucson Executive Director Priscilla Altuna said.
A majority of the 700 recipients have special dietary needs, which the chefs make sure to meet.
But Mobile Meals wouldn't be possible without the more than 400 drivers who deliver.
"As our volunteer coordinator likes to say, they're all angels," Altuna said.
Twenty-one-year-volunteer Enrique Gonzalez will drop off the milestone 100 thousandth meal.
"I tell people that its our duty to give back, especially the ones that have been blessed with prosperity and health," Gonzalez said.
And when they give back, the drivers form bonds with people who often spend most of their days alone.
"Several ladies, we kind of develop a mother-son relationship," Gonzalez said.
Same goes for Elias.
"I have become friends with several of the drivers," she said.
Those relationships are just another reason Elias said she hopes Mobile Meals continues long after she's gone.
Mobile Meals is always looking for new volunteer drivers to keep the program growing. You can contact the Mobile Meals Volunteer Coordinator by calling (520) 622-1600 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.