In 2011, after retiring, I got involved as a Meals on Wheels volunteer. My wife was already a volunteer for Interfaith Food Shuttle. One day a week, I volunteer to pack the meals and deliver to clients at home. Meals on Wheels of Wake County is a good cause and has a great staff and volunteers. The best experience is meeting the clients and getting to know them over time, building relationships. As a volunteer, I have yet to meet a sourpuss! The clients are very grateful and also independent-minded.
Initially, I became a Meals on Wheels volunteer about 10 years ago with a former MOW volunteer who passed way in 2009. A couple years after he died, I decided to continue volunteering in honor of his memory. Meals on Wheels is about making the lives of those in need a little easier and also to form healthy relationships with adults who need us. Most of the clients are elderly and bringing them meals, talking and socializing with them reminds me of good times with my own grandparents, who has since passed on. Many of the residents have really moved me and shown a deep appreciation for what we do as volunteers. For instance, Ms. M says that I am her favorite volunteer and Ms. P has told me on more than one occasion that she loves me.
As for volunteering, do it if you have free time. It will be one of the more rewarding experiences of your life. The appreciation that some of our clients show will warm your heart. Everybody should give back a little to make the world and life a little easier for those in need. Someday you may be in need of others to help you.
Five years ago, I first became a volunteer at Meals on Wheels after a friend invited me. Since then, I have volunteered at the Garner Senior Center MOW Congregate site, helping serve meals, ordering supplies, and helping out however I can. For me, I love walking in the door with a smile, hugging everyone and love the blessings these folks give to me. Sometimes, my hug was the only one they received that day since many of them live alone. In the past five years, I have met, loved and hugged so many, some have passed, from professors, pastors, nurses, veterans, but they were like family.
What I like best about volunteering is serving and socializing with residents. I like knowing they are eating at least one good meal a day. There are also times we play bingo on Thursdays and host potluck parties on the holidays. One time, I was in an auto accident which prevented me from serving at Garner, the congregation sent me cards and showed their love.
If you want to volunteer, I say “Do It”, you will get an awesome blessing and feeling just knowing you are serving someone’s mom or dad, someone that is lonely, it will truly brighten your day! There is always someone you can bless, it can change your whole outlook.
I first started as a Meals on Wheels of Wake County volunteer in 2000. My wife and I delivered meals together for six years until she had to stop in 2006 due to an injury at home. I decided to volunteer after I observed my father delivering meals after he retired and that’s what I decided to do as well.
I volunteer out of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in North Raleigh, delivering meals every week. The reason I volunteer is the joy I feel when people share their appreciation and successes with me. There is a good feeling visiting with people every week and knowing that I am the only person they see all day. I deliver meals because I love seeing the smiles and the warm words from the people I meet. I also volunteer to deliver meals because it inspires me to do more. The older adults on my route are very appreciative of the meals. Perhaps the socialization is the best part as I spend as much time as possible with each client.
There are several residents that have moved me over the years. One Client, Ms. V, to whom I delivered meals for over 12 years, she had significant health issues, but was always concerned about how I was doing. She always offered me a bottle of water so that I could remain hydrated. There was Ms. W, with cancer, who was pursuing a Wake Tech medical certificate, once she received her certificate, she proudly displayed it to me when I delivered her next meal. Then there was Mr. H, who cared for his wife of 65 years with Alzheimer’s, and had several health issues of his own. After his wife passed, I developed a close relationships with Mr. H, and our visits are very long. In spite of the problems he faces, he has a very positive outlook on life. He is a true inspiration to me.
Finally, I volunteer and deliver meals because it’s the right thing to do, providing food to people in need. It just doesn’t get any more basic than that! If you’re thinking about volunteering for Meals on Wheels, I’d like to say to you, Come on in- the water’s great!
A Key Player On and Off the Court
Meet volunteer driver, Jim Chavass. He is as classic at our office as the 1971 Datsun he drives to deliver meals. Over the past 20 years, Jim has only used his other car for delivery when the Datsun needs occasional mechanical work.
Jim retired in 1985 and became an exemplary volunteer. He helped people learn to read with the Wake County Literacy Council and then became a volunteer with Meals on Wheels of Wake County. When asked why he continues, he simply states, “ I ought to do something to help.” When asked what he would say to encourage someone to become a volunteer delivery driver, he first responded with a laugh and then said, “I suggest that they get started. It doesn’t take much time and it is a way to help in your community.”
Lillian Poole, another MOW volunteer, spilled the beans one day on Jim’s reputation as a “tennis legend.” Since then, Jim’s tennis game has become a regular topic of conversation in the volunteer room, especially when he misses his delivery date to travel and compete. Jim started playing tennis when he was 12 years old. He recently received his last title in Pinehurst, NC. Jim was a finalist in the Men’s Clay Court, playing in the 90’s singles category. The year before that he won in the Men’s Clay Court 90’s doubles category.
At 93, Jim continues to share his talent on the court as well as off as a regular Thursday delivery driver. When asked why he keeps volunteering, Jim told us, “I have enjoyed doing this and I have met a lot of interesting people over the years.”
We think he is a key player indeed.