Meals on Wheels New Hampshire

Spotlight Stories - Staff



Meals on Wheels Volunteer Coordinator

With over three decades of service at Meals on Wheels (part of Ossipee Concerned Citizens), Joyce White has seen many sides of senior hunger. “One of the misconceptions we’ve always faced is people not thinking they qualify for the service, so they go without. Part of our mission to make sure people are aware of those benefits and get the meals at home. Once that connection is made, it’s very gratifying.”

“Once we enroll clients in the program, you can see they have a sense of relief.” Joyce has held a number of roles at the agency and currently serves as Volunteer Coordinator. “I love this job,” she says. “Our volunteers play such an important role at our organization and being able to work with them is very gratifying. There is always a need for volunteer drivers.”

In addition to coordinating the agency’s volunteers (more than 120), Joyce works with the local Hannaford’s Supermarket to secure donate food items. “They been wonderful supporters of ours,” she said. According to Joyce, Meals on Wheels is part of what makes the community better and stronger. “Through the home delivery of meals, people can stay at and remain independent. . .that is very much a source of pride for many of our clients.”



HSPP Center Manager, Community Action Program – Belknap and Merrimack Counties

In 2015 and recently retired from a 36-year career in education, Richard “Rich” Penney was looking for his “next chapter in life. I certainly wasn’t going to sit on the couch,” he recalls. “I was aware of the need for senior support services, so I joined CAP and the senior center. . .things have certainly progressed from there.”

Over the next several years, Rich’s responsibilities grew from organizing activities for the congregate dining program at the Horseshoe Pond Center to implementing the Meals on Wheels program for Greater Concord. “The feedback was pretty clear that the service was needed,” he says. “We had been hearing that there were people who needed the meals but couldn’t necessarily get to the community dining program. So, we brought the meals to them.”

Fast forward to present day and you’ll find Rich working with staff and volunteers each morning to package and delivery dozens of meals, return to the Center to set up congregate dining, and then overseeing activities such as yoga or Silver Sneakers.

Rich frequently delivers meals, loading the back of his red pick-up truck for stops across the city. He delivers the meals and talks to each client-many of whom he has known for several years. “It’s important for me to do this. I get to meet the clients-which is great, and I experience what our drivers see and hear. This keeps me in touch with what is going on. All of this feedback is valuable and helps us do the best possible job for those we serve.” Sometime referring to his work as “having many plates in the air,” on this day, Rich is mentoring a new volunteer, packaging meals, and talking on the phone to a new driver about local construction near one of the delivery sites. When reminded that his “retirement job” can often last from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 or later each day, Rich laughs and says “I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re helping people to stay at home and safe where they want to be. . . this work is addictive. . .I truly love what I do!”

Make every call count

CJ, Newport Senior Center/Sullivan County Nutrition Services

Elder Support Services Supervisor

If one is a client at Sullivan County Nutrition Services, odds are you will have met CJ either in person or over the phone.

“This is a great job,” she says.  “Sometimes when I get calls from clients or family members, there’s some stress, fear, and worry.  Once we can get someone enrolled and set up for meal deliveries, that pressure goes away.  To be able to play a part in that is gratifying.”  As she is plugged into other programs and services across the community, she also can connect those in need with other resources.

When she talks to new or prospective clients and family members, people tell CJ that they didn’t know Meals on Wheels existed or didn’t think they qualified.  “Sometimes we’re the best kept secret in town, so we tell everyone we meet to spread the word.”

She added that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased social isolation among older adults.  “Sullivan county is fairly remote,” she says.  “Some people were a little cut off prior to COVID and it only gotten worse.  That is one reason why this work is so critical.”

CJ has been with the organization for 3 years and says “I love our clients and enjoy hearing their stories.  I know being that voice on the other end of the phone means a lot to them, so I make every call count.”

Caring Deeds

PATTI, Rockingham Nutrition and Meals on Wheels


Motivated by her own experiences with her parents having been MOW’s clients, Patti brings that history to her work at the Exeter center. “I know first-hand the positive impact the deliveries had for my folks and other relatives. It is not just the food; it is the companionship.”

Retired from a career in the banking industry, Patti calls the Exeter Center “my happy place. The atmosphere is wonderful. We have a great team here and the staff and volunteers are united in helping to take care of older adults,” she says.” And we laugh a lot along the way.”

In addition to serving as a gathering place for congregate dining (still on the rebound post-pandemic), the center hosts other activities such as chair exercise and bingo. They also offer transportation for shopping trips and doctor visits.

Giving Back

ALICE, Rockingham Nutrition and Meals on Wheels


A member of the MOWs team for 6 years, Alice says she enjoys all aspects of her job coordinating staff and volunteers and ensuring all the meals come out in a timely fashion.

“We’re a wonderful team and all here for the same reason,” she says. “In some cases, our family members have been clients, so we have first-hand knowledge of the impacts of meals being delivered.”

“Very often we’re helping people be able to stay at home, and that’s where they want to be,” said Alice. “Our clients have worked hard their whole lives and now need a little help. That is why we are here.”

Making A Difference

KEVIN, Gibson Center for Senior Services

Prep Cook

Kevin shares that his Gibson Center career began with answering an ad in the local paper.  The retired machinist had moved to the area and was looking for his next challenge.  “When I came, I wasn’t sure how long I’d stay,” he said.  “But this work and who we are helping really means a lot to me. So, I wanted to stay.”

Kevin has now been working in the kitchen at the Gibson Center for nearly 20 years and hasn’t looked back.  “The work is fun; the people are great.  We also get good feedback from the clients.”

“It’s wonderful to know that we’re making a difference in someone’s life.”

It’s fun to come to work each day

BECKY, Gibson Center for Senior Services

Nutrition Director

To say the cooking team has several balls in the air each day is a bit of an understatement.

“Each day we’re preparing about 90 meals for delivery and several more for congregate dining,” said Becky, Nutrition Director at the Gibson Center.  “And of that number, there are about 15-20 tailored meals- all made for scratch.”

The food prep starts at 3:00 AM each weekday morning she says and the remainder of the morning is a well-choreographed operation among staff, volunteers, and others.  “We don’t stop!” she jokes.

“At the end of the day, we want to make sure our clients get what they need,” she says.  “If there is bad weather in the forecast which may impact deliveries, we give people extra meals to help them get through those times.”

Becky shared that the cause is what drew her to the Gibson Center and the connections with older adults remind her each day about the value of the work.  “We have a great team and they’re all dedicated to our clients,” she says.  “It’s fun to come to work each day.”

Committed To Caring

LELIA VILLENEUVE, Senior Meals of Coos County and Berlin Senior Center

Site Operations Manager

Having joined the agency over 35 years ago, it’s safe to say that Lelia knows the organization “inside and out.  “Over the years, I’ve done pretty much every job here.  From preparing meals to delivery to most things in between.  We all step up to meet the needs of those we serve.”

A point of particular pride is the role the center played during the pandemic.  “We didn’t miss a day,” she says.  “We had staff out some days and volunteers who couldn’t come in.  Our goal was to continue to get meals out for delivery and we were able to do that.”

Lelia praises the legacy of “volunteer power” and donor support the Center has built up over the years.  “This is close knit community and people are always stepping up when there’s a need. That’s not to say that we don’t have challenges like many agencies, but our team always rises to the occasion.”

Supporting older adults in the North Country has truly become her life’s work.  “I love working with seniors,” she said.  “Everyone has a story to tell and they have had very interesting lives.  I feel great at the end of each day to know that we’re making a difference.”

“I love what I do!”


DIANNA MULVEY, Strafford Nutrition Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels Staff

Prior to joining SNMOW, Dianna did not know much about the service or the need.  “There is a lot of need out there and this is so much more than just a meal.  We provide social contacts for our clients.  Sometimes we might be the only outside person they see each week.”

She joined the agency several years ago and has done a variety of jobs including food prep and processing, packing, meal deliverer, and currently is the the Rochester Site Manager.  Today, she was filling in for a regular driver covering a  route that stretches across Rochester, Farmington, Stafford, and Milton.

“We’re like a little family,” is how Dianna describes the team at SNMOW.  “All of us are here for the same reason- the clients.  This is an awesome team!”