Karen Adcock, Director of Senior Services
This couple just needs a little help. If not you, then who?
Here’s the story. He’s a veteran who served his country proudly many years ago. She raised their four children, volunteered at their children’s school, and at the local library. They both raised their children to be successful adults with active careers and families of their own. Their children support and help their parents as best as they can, but two live out-of-state and one lives over six hours away. Their youngest, who lives in the next town over, keeps busy with her young children’s schedules so she can only visit a couple of times a week.
This dedicated husband gets up daily and makes breakfast for the two of them. She sits there across from the table from him, smiles shyly at him and wonders: Who is this good-looking man? She has no idea this man is her husband of 55+ years. He smiles back to reassure her everything is going to be alright. This morning is no different from the one before, and the one before that, and so on.
Every day this good man helps his wife with her personal needs, gets her dressed and takes her with him when he runs errands. He wonders to himself how she can be so wide awake as the night before she wandered the halls of their home looking for something that she couldn’t explain to him. He gets up making sure she is okay, and making sure the double bolts on the doors are secure so she won’t wander away. He sighs to himself, as he realizes how tired he really is, and how each day seems harder and harder than the last. But he loves her and vows he will take care of her to the end.
At lunchtime there’s a knock on the door. He smiles as he answers the door. A wonderful and cheerful volunteer is bringing two nutritious meals to him and his wife. The volunteer greets him warmly and asks how he’s doing? He smiles a weary smile and says the same as usual. He thanks the volunteer and says how grateful he is for the meals – as it’s one less thing he has to worry about.
The volunteer leaves the veteran and his wife to deliver more meals. While this volunteer feels a pang of sadness for the couple, she also feels good inside knowing she has made another person’s day a bit brighter. Her spirits pick up knowing she will make another person’s day better as she delivers the next meal and so on. This volunteer smiles as she realizes how much she looks forward to this one day a week, this one fleeting lunch hour, and how her day is much brighter because of her involvement with the Meals on Wheels program.
Our Meals on Wheels volunteers deliver nutritious meals seven days a week to numerous seniors, much like this veteran and his wife (which is a true story). Most of our Meals on Wheels participants are over the age of 75, female, and widowed. This is not an income based program – it’s provided on an as-needed basis. Many participants are low-income, frail, disabled, and unable to prepare a nutritious meal. While others are caregivers that get some relief by receiving meals through the program. Most importantly, the friendly face and hello from the Meals on Wheels volunteer may be the only human contact these folks will receive.
You too can help Auburn Hills’ residents like this couple. It’s a rather small commitment of time in the grand scheme of things – it’s just a lunch hour. You too can be that friendly volunteer that makes a difference in our community. To volunteer, stop by the Auburn Hills Community Center or call 248-370-9353 and ask for Volunteer Coordinator Paige Baranyai.
Consider being a Meals on Wheels volunteer, because I can promise you this, the experience will be much more satisfying than any lunchtime burger will ever be.