Meals on Wheels of Norman is focused on providing more than just meals. On Wednesday, that was especially true, as notable community members accompanied volunteers to deliver meals during the nonprofit's Big Wheel event.
OU sports fan Dee Harmon received a surprise when Big Wheel Chanse Sylvie stopped by to deliver her meal and talk sports.
With a smile on her face, she greeted the OU football safety and the small group of media and volunteers who accompanied him.
"I heard you are a big OU fan," he told Harmon. "What sports are you a fan of?"
"Any," she replied.
Harmon was happy to have a Sooner athlete in her home, and Sylvie became fast friends with Chloe, Harmon's chihuahua.
"It's great that they brought one of you out here," she said.
Harmon said she and her sister played basketball when they were growing up in Ardmore. Also, she enjoys watching sports on television, especially OU games.
"The Virginia game was bad," she said, referring to the Sooner men's basketball team's second-round loss in the NCAA tournament.
Kevin Henry, director of development for the Sooner Club, invited Harmon to come watch a game.
Her fandom undeterred, she said "let's go."
When asked if she would like to sit, Harmon replied that she had been sitting and preferred to stand. When she went to sit down later by Sylvie, she said, "I'll sit with this good-looking guy."
The OU student who is seeking his master's degree hails from Shreveport, Louisiana, and his hometown is located in a country area that resembles parts of Oklahoma. He said he went home over spring break, but he likes being in Oklahoma and playing at OU.
He also likes connecting with people like Harmon. Harmon said she has been a Meals on Wheels client for 10 years and is dependent on the fresh meals the nonprofit provides.
"I can't always get out," she said. "I'm really happy with them. It really saves me."
Harmon said the people who regularly deliver the meals are kind and dependable, and it's great to see athletes in person via the big wheels event.
"It means a lot. It peps you up," she said, adding that she enjoys seeing the volunteers, too. "It's something to me."
Sylvie said he regularly volunteers through various events in the community and the event has encouraged him to consider volunteering more with Meals on Wheels.
"I definitely got new insight into [Meals on Wheels]," he said. "I plan on visiting Miss Dee again.
"Residents should support [the program] any way they can. It's great for the community."
Summer McGuire, Meals on Wheels associate director of development and fundraising, said 27 people participated in the event, between Big Wheels and their trainers (volunteers).
"My favorite part is the feedback at the end of the event," she said. "The overall takeaway is how appreciative the recipients are. It gives them a reason to get up."
Representatives from many Norman businesses also joined in the Big Wheel effort: Riverwind Casino, Norman Regional Health System, Embassy Suites Norman, Moore Norman Technology Center, OU Athletic Department and Sooner Vision, Communications Federal Credit Union, Centuria Corporation, ScissorTail Roofing and Construction, BancFirst, Edward Jones, First United Bank, Reynold's Ford, United Way of Norman, OG&E, Rieger Realty and the Norman Police Department.
For more information about Meals on Wheels, visit mealsonwheelsnorman.com.