My Meals on Wheels Volunteer Experience

Volunteering with Meals on Wheels is a fulfilling way to give back and make a difference in your community. In this personal account, a volunteer shares the joy of getting to know clients and making meaningful connections through weekly meal deliveries.

My Meals on Wheels Volunteer Experience

I thought I would share about my Meals on Wheels Volunteer Experience.

We deliver Meals on Wheels once a week, and it’s a day we always look forward to. All this takes is a bit of our time and gas once a week, so it’s not a huge, self-sacrificing gesture. Many people think we do MoW deliveries because we just want to help others less fortunate than ourselves. And yes, this is true; we’re certainly not angels or saints, but we do like to help where we can.

But we gain so much more than we think we give in this. We have met so many very lovely, wonderful people, gotten to visit with elders with wisdom and love to share. Our route varies over time, because new clients come, and old ones disappear. Some of them have died, some have been moved into nursing homes, others have improved to the point they no longer need the service. We miss the ones we know – and still stop to visit when we can – and love meeting new clients and getting to know them. We’re not really supposed to have favorites, but of course we do. There are about half a dozen clients we consider to be our “specials”. We chat and exchange news of their families – and hugs – when we deliver their meals.

One client, “Brenda”, has appeared to be very dour, unfriendly, brusque – not really very gracious, grateful or welcoming. Over the two years we’ve been delivering to her, it was obvious that she had some serious health problems – she’s even answered the door wearing a hospital gown and dragging an IV pole, but there was no real connection to her where we felt we could ask anything. It was always “Here’s your meal,” a terse “Thank you,” at most, and a door firmly shut.

Lately, “Brenda” has appeared to be in better health, and is fully dressed when she comes to the door. She has been more pleasant in her responses, and it’s obvious that she’s feeling much better. We’ve been glad to see this, but there was still no feeling that she wanted us to remain any longer than it took to hand over the meal.
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Today, our last client wasn’t home. When that happens, we are instructed to give the meal away to someone else, so even though we had already delivered to “Brenda”, we turned around and went back to give her the extra meal. She was so surprised to see me back at the door, and when I explained why, she broke out in a big smile, and said, “Why, bless you, baby, bless you so much!”

What a difference that made in her expression and demeanor! So I tentatively asked her if she liked to get hugs, and she responded immediately, with “Oh, yes, all I can get!!” and leaned over to hug me. (She’s quite tall, probably over 6 feet, and I’m barely over 5 feet.) And we exchanged a BIG hug.

When she straightened up, she had the biggest smile ever on her face, and said, “Don’t that always feel better when you’ve had a big hug!” And I agreed, and smiled back – and knew that she is now definitely one of our “special” clients. It’s a beautiful feeling.