The reporter who wrote the following is a wonderful young lady who interviewed us a few weeks ago, and then did a ride along with us recently. We are hopeful that this article inspires more volunteering and giving to our local Senior Center!
(Jan 10, 2008 West Lane News article written by Kate Fisher- with some details replaced by *** for privacy here)
“Okay, it’s Josiah’s turn to help!” Brenda (***) sings out as she parks her vehicle in front of a small mobile home. After loading up with a steaming packaged meal, cold drink and dessert, she knocks on the door and then announces her entry with a cheerful “Meals on Wheels!”
Brenda (***) and her three boys Josiah, 12, Sam, 10, and Caleb, 8 are volunteers for the Meals on Wheels program in (***). Every Friday they deliver anywhere from 15 to 20 meals along a route that begins at (***) winds through (***) and ends at (***).
Meals on Wheels is a program that provides meal services to people in need. There are three volunteers who package the meals, and three who deliver the meals on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, said Ann James, site coordinator for the program.
The (*** family) first began volunteering in July 2007 after their church invited volunteer organizations to make presentations following a service. “Our pastor was doing a series on being the “light of the world”, getting out and serving people,” Brenda (***) said. “I’d wanted to volunteer, but had always thought “well, when the kids are older…” but I realized God is calling you know, you don’t need to wait for the perfect time.”
Now she says that delivering the meals on Friday has become an essential part of their week. “I’ve enjoyed getting to know people, I enjoy getting to see them every week-it’s become part of our life, our routine. Fridays without it would be strange.” she said.
The program provides a service that can give senior citizens that little bit of help that can enable them to stay in their homes, she said. “I know that when I’m older, if I’m not living with one of my boys, I would want to stay in my own home. A few hot meals a week can help someone do that-sometimes it’s just enough,” Brenda said. “It also gives us a chance to check on people, and let them know that somebody cares about them.”
James said that just the fact that someone is checking on the people in the program can often make a vital difference. “We once had a volunteer, who after she took the meal in, was worried because the person wasn’t answering her greeting.” James said. “She went in to check on the person, and they had just collapsed, so the volunteer was able to call 911.”
Brenda also believes it is essential for children to be exposed to volunteerism. “I think it’s important for the younger generation to step up-it’s easy to say ‘Well I’m busy with my job, or my family and I just don’t have time…I’ll do it later, and then “later” never comes.” She wanted to show her three boys, whom she home schools, how to give back to the community.
“I want to show them that giving is a part of life. That they would have that mind-set that says when you are part of a community, you reach out to others.” Brenda said. “We don’t have what a lot of people would consider wealth, but we have incredible blessings. We have love, we have our children, we have time. These are things a lot of people don’t have, and we are able to share those blessings.”
Her boys say they have learned a lot by volunteering. “I’ve learned that there is a lot of people in need of help, and I want to keep helping them when I grow up.” Caleb said.
Those seeking more information about the program can contact Ann James.