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Nearly 17 Million Steps Later, Meals On Wheels Volunteer Nears End Of Cross-Country Trek

KPBS Evening Edition

Meals On Wheels Volunteer Nears End Of Trek 17 Million Steps Later

Aired 10/1/13 on KPBS News.

After 3,200 miles and three pairs of shoes, a San Diego man completes cross-country walk to raise awareness for Meals on Wheels.

— Phil Cihiwsky has been dreaming for years of completing a cross-country walk. It just took him a while to find the right reason to do it.

This Friday his journey to increase awareness about Meals On Wheels, a service for homebound seniors, comes to an end.

Cihiwsky left San Diego nearly seven months ago, pushing his modified three-wheel cart loaded with equipment and supplies across the country. Since then he's covered 15 states, 3,200 miles and 16,896,000 steps to raise awareness about Meals on Wheels. Surprisingly, he's only gone through three pairs of shoes.

"There are some seniors who are isolated in their homes and not only a meal twice a day is a benefit to them, but also some companionship and people coming by to check up on them. So my hat's off to those folks at Meals on Wheels," Cihiwsky said when we first caught up with him in early March.

He's faced storms, heat, fatigue and pain along the way, but never gave up, even accepting the Meals On Wheels' volunteer of the year award via video from the road.

"I'd also like to acknowledge the tens of thousands of volunteers who every week go out to deliver meals to our seniors and receiving nothing more than a smile and perhaps the satisfaction of knowing they've helped someone in return," he said.

Meals on Wheels serves 2,300 seniors a day in San Diego County. They've set up a donation website for Cihiwsky's walk which comes to an end in York Harbor, Maine on Friday.

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