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Delivering More Than Just Food

Delivering More Than Just Food

The value of volunteering can be experienced at any age.  A 19 year old student recently volunteered for a local Meals on Wheels agency.  Throughout her volunteer experience, she reflected and wrote about what she learned.  This was one of her experiences.

The first stop we made this morning was for an elderly lady who lived on her own. We had to ring the doorbell twice, and when she came to the door she was very apologetic that it had taken her so long to answer, she had been sleeping and did not hear us the first time. While counting out her money, she mentioned that she had never seen us deliver to her house before and I was surprised that she recognized this.

I admired how the people we deliver to really acknowledge our presence and notice what we and other volunteers do for them. I could tell by the smile on her face that she was so happy we had arrived and were able to chat with her even though it was only for a few minutes.

When leaving, I wondered how often she had visitors drop by or if she spends long periods of time alone. This thought made me sad but I was glad we could offer her some brief human contact, maybe even brightening her day.

After this pleasant first stop I noticed during the rest of the deliveries how delighted everyone was when we showed up on their doorstep.

One man in particular reached out and offered me some change telling me; “go get yourself a coffee for all the hard work”. Of course, I politely declined his money but he continued to thank me and I understood how grateful he was.

When choosing my volunteer activity my main concern for Meals on Wheels was that I would not get to meet and spend time with people however today definitely proved to me otherwise.

Even if it is only a brief interaction, the happiness of the individuals and their gratitude for our help makes it all worthwhile. The main purpose of our volunteer work is to ensure food is delivered to those in need, however I have discovered that there is more than a meal being received. I have found that a smile, a friendly wish good morning and someone to ask how they are doing are the small things that the people truly look forward to.