Meals on Wheels

When I was a teenager, I worked in a retirement home. The residents were in pretty good health and didn’t need the care provided by the nursing home across the street. I loved working there.

It was a great opportunity for a moody teenager: a captive audience of adults who were eager to listen to my stories and even better, tell me theirs.  A classic win-win.

Some of the residents even asked me to visit them on prom night to show off all my finery. I twirled around in front of that audience and soaked up the admiration. Makes me sound pretty vain, and I guess I was (I was a teenager, after all), but it made for a little diversion and my favorite resident, Mrs. Stephenson, even got a little choked up. These people were so kind to me.

I was genuinely sad to leave that job when I left for college. Working there was one of the best experiences of my young life.

So when I sought out a volunteer opportunity a couple of months ago, I was happy to find one that involved visiting with seniors—Meals on Wheels. The job is pretty simple: pick up meals at the kitchen of a local elder-care facility and deliver them to people who, due to age, illness or economic challenges, find it difficult to prepare meals for themselves.

Most Meals on Wheels clients don’t get out much. For some, the Meals on Wheels volunteer provides the only human contact they have all day.

I’ve written about my fears of imposing and intruding, and wanting to expand beyond the little box I have constructed for my life. Meals on Wheels feels expansive in that way. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to get to know these people a little.

When I first entered the house of one lady, she exclaimed, “Why, you’re beautiful!” And that’s without a prom dress, folks. Obviously, she is my favorite already.

Also, her eyesight probably is not what it used to be.

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34 Responses to Meals on Wheels

  1. Jayne Long says:

    you are beautiful Dory, inside and out!

  2. Sounds like a rewarding experience for both of you.

  3. It’s amazing how most of us take the simple pleasures of life for granted – thank you for bringing so much joy to others!

  4. Kim says:

    I agree with Jayne…beautiful inside and out! And our eye sight hasn’t gone quite yet.
    So great of you to give to others this way.

  5. Good for you for taking the time to care for a segment of the community who are unnoticed much of the time. It must be nice to know you’re one of the good guys in town.

    Ronnie

  6. I’m so glad you’ve got a volunteer opportunity that speaks to your heart!

  7. Jamie says:

    Food is a great way to care for people in need. Just think about what could happen if more people did things like this!

  8. notquiteold says:

    One of my first jobs was to coordinate the local meals-on-wheels program. I know that it was the highlight of most folks’ day. Good for you!

  9. Amy says:

    Awesome Dory! I too love my job at Meals on Wheels 🙂

  10. What a really sweet post. It makes me want to volunteer for Meals on Wheels, too. And I’m not just saying that because I love compliments 😉

  11. gatehouse13 says:

    What a great post. My grandmothers both had meals on wheels and I know how much they appreciated not only the food, but also the contact with the person delivering it. Good on you.

  12. bigsheepcommunications says:

    Amazing what a hot meal and a simple compliment can do to lift people up.

  13. Lesley says:

    You’re obviously beautiful inside and out. Well done to you for taking some time to do something for others.

  14. Muff says:

    Take compliments when they come. Enjoy the time with these folks – it will warm your heart and they will be so grateful for your help. Great example for your girls. Classic win-win-win!

  15. Tricia says:

    Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” MLK

  16. Him Up North says:

    Keep up the good work. The contact with someone is just as (if not more) vital as the meal sometimes. 🙂

  17. gojulesgo says:

    I love this post! And I don’t think there can be too much vanity in a teenager who enjoyed working in a retirement home. You are clearly beautiful on the inside as well! 🙂

  18. winsomebella says:

    I am glad you are doing this. I did it for several years and just loved it. I am sure they LOVE you.

  19. Today teens get community service credits for doing this kind of thing. How wonderful you are for doing it on your own both then and now.

  20. ottabelle says:

    I’m really happy that you’re branching out. I know it’s hard. And you’re doing a good service while you’re doing it.

    I won’t lie, I got teary reading this for some reason. 🙂

  21. I love your blog, and this post. I do a lot of work with the elderly, and you are so right- Meals on Wheels is the only link many people have to the outside world. I take care of an elderly neighbor, and she was once saved from a fall by the Meals on Wheels people realizing her door was locked. Also, I play the harp in nursing homes often, and take my one and a half year old with me. I don’t think you were vain in your prom dress at all, I think you were beautiful, in more ways than one. Elderly people have a powerful amount of love and wisdom, and the fact that they are so segregated from young people is tragic. It is SO mutually beneficial. -kate

  22. Doc says:

    Beautiful post. Especially at this time of year. We’re looking for volunteer opportunities for Christmas and I can’t believe we didn’t even consider Meals On Wheels.

  23. ottabelle says:

    You’ve been given the versatile blogger award, yay! Here, also have some more information: http://conversingwithnovels.wordpress.com/2011/12/16/another-award-i-cant-believe-it/

  24. Hooray for you! Back when I lived downtown and walked to work when the weather was mild, I would walk past the Meals on Wheels program office with all of its lovely smells wafting out. How wonderful that you get to bring food and smiles to so many 🙂

  25. I would have hugged her! I think it is great you are giving back to the community!

  26. Addie says:

    I’m sure her eyesight was just fine. Very inspiring, this post.

  27. love it! I grew up with my mom taking me to the nursing home to visit various people she’d known throughout her life, and now I am taking my children as well. And we spend time in “the big rooms” talking to one’s we’ve never met and often, the ones who never remember. It breaks my heart to think of those so lonely and isolated, and i want to raise my children in a way where I am modeling to them how everyone is worthy of our time and affections.

  28. Elyse says:

    Wonderful — what an asset you are to your community. And how good they make you feel in return. Beautiful post.

  29. Angie Z. says:

    Very cool! I love the idea of it. I have been a Big Sister for five years and when she graduates this May, I’ll be up for trading in some teenage angst for some overblown compliments and tall-tale stories 🙂

  30. Sweet. Kinda late on this one. We did the SF food bank on Thanksgiving Day. Loaded 23k of apples and bagged 2k of pasta. I will definitely do it again.
    Nobody told me I was handsome though.
    Les

  31. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    When I was a teen we could choose an activity Friday mornings – tennis, cooking, etc. I chose to work in an old folks home – feed them tea & biscuits etc. It was really interesting to me. I’ll never forget the characters. Good post – gave me reminisce.

  32. Pingback: Meals on Wheels 2 | If I Were Brave

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