The immediate threat of Meals on Wheels having to shut down in two weeks has passed, but even so, there is only enough food and money now to feed people through November.
Previous executive director Kathy Edens handed the keys over to Michael Tyler less than two weeks ago, and they both call it a God thing.
Meals on Wheels of Horry County, Inc. delivers about 80 meals a week to folks all over the county who cannot cook for themselves and have nobody to help them.
Specifically, the mission statement says the nonprofit “glorifies our Lord Jesus Christ by providing home-delivered meals and fellowship to the homebound, elderly, and frail of Horry County.”
Volunteers prepare the meals in a rented kitchen at 4006 Postal Way in Carolina Forest and other volunteers deliver them every weekday.
The new executive director, Michael Tyler, says, “Some of these people live in sheds. Some of them are confined to their bedrooms, and for some of them, Meals on Wheels volunteers are the only human contact they get.”
At roughly $5 a meal — whether that’s regular food, a low fat, low sodium meal, a diabetic meal or a chopped-up meal — it’s more than $400 a day to feed clients. Expenses also include rent, utilities and gas for vehicles.
Edens says there have been near disasters in the past, but, the money has always showed up. This time, it didn’t until the last minute.
She thinks that was God’s way of telling her to move aside and “let younger blood take over.”
Edens’ husband, Sonny, passed away in December and she says she has been so busy with the ministry, she hasn’t even had time to grieve the loss.
“I’m old, I needed to quit, and look what Michael’s done already,” she says about money for the next three months coming in, in the nick of time.
The 30-something Tyler agrees that God is responsible for the shift in leadership.
A year ago, Tyler, who also runs Hunger Crusaders in Myrtle Beach, apologized to his grandfather for not spending enough time with him.
“There were times when he sat in his trailer all by himself, and if it hadn’t been for my cousin…” he says, his voice trailing off.
Tyler’s grandfather passed away less than a week after Tyler’s apology, and when he went to Meals on Wheels to ask how he could help, and Edens told him he could actually take over, he knew it was a divine calling.
The ministry has food — purchased from a wholesaler and Walmart to get through the next three months. But, Tyler doesn’t want to get back to where the ministry was just a couple weeks ago.
People can send financial contributions to Meals on Wheels POB 50862 Myrtle Beach SC 29579. They can donate through the website, www.mowhc.org. They can donate through the Meals on Wheels gofundme page.
Or, they can drop off nonperishables and canned food at 4006 Postal Way.
“We really need the public to help us monthly with donations because once this need fades from the media, we will be relying on financial donations, pledges and sponsors,” Tyler says.
“We’re serving a retirement community so the folks who need our assistance keeps growing.”
Edens, who remains on the ministry’s board, says, “When you walk into someone’s home and open their refrigerator, and there is absolutely nothing in it, that brings you up short.
“These people have no family, no friends, no food, and many of them are sick.
“Michael’s got a younger mind, he’s more in tune with social media, he got the word out.
“Maybe,” she says, “This was just God’s way of doing a change of command.”