When I was a little girl my mom would take me on her Meals On Wheels route. The thing that I remember most was how happy those old people seemed to be to see me. They didn't even know me but how they would gush and want to hold my hand and ask how old I was. In the few brief minutes we were guests in their home a shy little girl with auburn hair would bring them a breath of fresh air along with their lunch.
Fast forward a few decades and here I am with my very own route. When I was at a place in my life where I had the time to commit to community volunteer work the first thing I did was call up my local Meals On Wheels office to find out about driving a route. I've been doing it for four years and love every week. When my 1st grader was in pre-school I would take him on my route with me. Most of the time he would clam up and not say much but the clients loved seeing him.
Driving Meals On Wheels has been a life lesson for both me and my son. It teaches us to serve those in need. For the clients who are home bound and unable to make their own way to the grocery store this service is essential to their daily survival. It teaches us kindness and compassion. For some of these folks their driver may be the only other person they see all day long. No person is an island unto themselves and no one deserves to be left alone all day. We all need interaction with another human being even if it is as simple as a friendly smile, a pat on the hand or a quick chat. It teaches a sense of community. This service is a vital part of our community that would not survive without it's volunteers. It's important to give of yourself, your time and resources without expecting anything in return.
One of the most important life lessons for me has been humility. There were many times I had to explain to my tender little boy that not everybody lives in a big house with nice things and lots of toys to play with. Not everybody has someone to take care of them, cook them dinner everyday, play with them and kiss them goodnight every night. Not everybody can keep their house clean and smelling nice or have new, clean clothes. Not everybody can just hop in the car whenever they feel like it and go out to eat at their favorite restaurant or buy lots of groceries without worrying if they will have enough money. These are difficult life lessons for a little boy and sharp reminders for an adult. But one lesson that would follow up the "not every body has..." lesson is that even though the people we delivered to had less than we did, what they did have is the assurance that they could depend on us to bring them their lunch that day.
After all these years, Meals On Wheels means to me: Service, Kindness, Compassion, Community and Humility. I'm so glad my mom knew to haul me all over town with her.
Guest Blogger, Volunteer, Wife & Professional Snot Wiper...
and in our world that makes her officially
She loves their hugs and kisses but does not love wiping their snotty noses. In her past life she has been a Gymboree teacher, an activity director at a retirement home, a business manager and a celebrity sighter. She likes to think of herself as a pretty decent cook, artistic, crafty and sort of okay with a sewing machine. Stephanie and her husband have been married for 11 years. The first 7 years of their marriage was spent having fun in Los Angeles but they knew it was time to come home to Norman after their first son was born. In her free time (if there ever is any) she can be found reading, cross-stitching, avoiding housework but most of all blogging about her stay-at-home adventures. Her blog can be found at Hugs, Kisses and Snot.