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Volunteering During a Global Pandemic

| August 10, 2020

For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Adrienne.  Just a young professional trying to survive being quarantined with a roommate and cat all while working full time.  I didn’t actually join Meals on Wheels specifically for pandemic relief; I joined before we were on a statewide safer-at-home order.  I chose to volunteer with Meals on Wheels because they served my grandfather while he was on hospice care last summer.  If you don’t know what Meals on Wheels is, it is a meal delivery service for homebound seniors.  They work with United Way of Central Alabama and local senior centers to coordinate the client routes for the city.  I help deliver frozen meals for the week to clients.  Full disclosure, I have tried one of these meals when my grandfather was receiving them.  No, I did not steal an elderly person’s meal, relax.  I’m not going to say it was amazing, but in all honesty it was not bad.  I would compare it to a Lean Cuisine if they prepared a meat and three.

This experience has been extremely rewarding for me.  I try to volunteer once or twice a month in an area near me.  During my shift, I pick up the boxes of food and deliver them to each client’s house during lunchtime.  Since we are amid a pandemic, I am required to wear gloves and a mask during the delivery (picture below).  When you arrive, the clients are instantly happy to see a smiling face, or smiling eyes, and have the chance to interact with someone.  Some clients have nurses or family members with them for help, but most of the time I bring the food right into their kitchen.  The first time a client asked me to put the food in her kitchen, I was so paranoid I would get kidnapped I called my mom and left her on speaker phone in my pocket.  Thankfully nothing happened, and I am alive to tell this story!

I have assisted other clients with other tasks in their home and kept some company for a little while.  Sometimes, I think there is a social stigma against elderly people to be cranky or smelly or rude.  However, these clients are always so grateful and kind, with just a faint smell of coffee or perfume.  I look forward to seeing them, talking to them, and helping where I can.  One woman blew kisses to me through her window as I left one afternoon, and my heart melted.  I want to share my experience with MOW to encourage others to volunteer and give back.  This one, simple act of kindness feeds homebound seniors and gives me a chance to see the world and our community differently.  I am forever grateful to the drivers who served my grandfather, and this is my opportunity to help another family.