by Leanne Christensen, board member and Meals on Wheels Volunteer
One of the most rewarding aspects of volunteering for Meals on Wheels for me, is building rapport and genuine friendships with our clients. Seeing them on a regular basis, gives us a chance to become familiar with many aspects of their lives… their blessings and their challenges. We find in our travels, that everyone has a story, and when we make the time to share/listen to these stories, we can create meaningful connections. Sometimes, if we are lucky, these connections provide an opportunity to assist our clients in truly significant ways.
Recently, a widower on our route mentioned that he wanted to find homes for his large birds. The birds were his late wife’s passion, and although he was doing his very best to care for them, at 94 he was not able to give them the attention, love and care that they had received from his wife. Having the full responsibility of their care made it difficult for him to leave his home for any length of time to travel, visit family, etc. My fellow volunteer, Sue Kennedy happened to have connections with the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, and she offered to make a few calls on our client’s behalf. After a few calls, and a few days we were told that foster homes had been found for all four birds! Our client was overjoyed with this news. The following week we arranged for pickup and delivery, and with the help of our husbands we were able to safely transport the birds, cages and all to the rescue facility in the Charlotte area. Such a happy ending for everyone involved.
Many MOW drivers have had similar situations with their clients over the years. Thankfully, with the help of the Council on Aging staff and their community partnerships, connecting and assisting our clients with needed services is truly just part of the job, and a very rewarding one at that.
With each life story that we hear, we realize the Meals on Wheels Program is so much more than delivering a healthy meal; it is a connection, a fellowship and much needed support in so many ways, and we are so deeply grateful to be a part of the process.