Before I moved to Oklahoma from Texas, I had a Meals On Wheels route.

I ran the route alone until my neighbor found out I had one apartment complex on my route that was known for drug problems. Then she went along with me most of the time.

Walli (my friend’s name, short for Walliece) would drive my Pathfinder, and I usually got out and took the meals to the door. 

I had a varied bunch that I served. 

One man was a hoarder. I never knew what I was going to walk into at that place. 

One woman was quite disfigured from a bomb blast while living in another country. The other more seasoned volunteers referred to her as “911.” Once I saw her, I understood why. 

The word was not meant to be demeaning. It was just how we kept track of where we were going.

One man was a veteran. When I approached his apartment, I’d find a bucket he’d lowered down with a rope from his second story apartment. 

I would greet him and put his meal in the bucket, and he would ease it back up to his patio and disappear into his apartment.

I figured maybe he had PTSD, and wanted little contact with others. So I limited what I said to him and just delivered his food. 

One elderly woman was obviously lonely. She always seemed a bit upset that someone had had to bring her food to her door. I tried to put her at ease with small talk. 

She didn’t have a lot. But the little patch of dirt in front of her apartment was full of flowers and well-tended.

One woman always had her door unlocked and would tell me to come on in. She often had me open a pickle jar or something while I was there. 

In other words, I met all kinds of people. I understood their individual needs and tried to give them the contact they seemed to prefer. 

For you never know another person’s path in life until you’ve walked in their shoes.

There was one young man who’d been injured as a soldier. He’d suffered a head injury that affected his speech. But he could serve as a Meals On Wheels volunteer, so that’s what he did. I found that quite admirable.

He and I had some good conversations and a coffee chat or two at Starbucks. He persevered, and that was what was important. 

After we delivered all the meals, Walli and I usually went to lunch somewhere.

Meals On Wheels is a valuable service and always in need of volunteers. I couldn’t do it now due to my ankle. But I look back on that time fondly. 

You do what you can, where you can. And that makes all the difference.

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26 Comments

  1. I go to a monthly meeting in a group home for adults with challenges. In their club, they do service work for the community. At January's meeting they created valentines which I delivered for the residents of a nearby nursing home. The are so pleasant, respectful and appreciative. I always leave there feeling loved. They give so much more to me than they receive from me. I am blessed.

  2. An inspirational post that tells us that we do not know what path each person has walked. And we don't know what they have been through to end up in these circumstances. It is not for us to judge only to help when we can. Brenda, you probably saved a few lives without even knowing it.

  3. Hi Brenda, the meal is so appreciated by all but Id be willing to bet seeing you bring it was the greatest thing of all. You have a knack for understanding and respecting people and being able to mingle and understand all personalities in a careful easing way not to ever overstep boundaries. I imagine you were missed when you left. That is a nice trait that not many acquire.

  4. I have some friends who are retired and do Meals on Wheels every Thursday, have been for many years. They've got some interesting tales to tell, for sure, but they are very discreet about it. Such a great program!

  5. This is a great post, Brenda. You are still doing a service for Meals on Wheels and the people they serve by sharing your experiences. Not only was the meal important to give to each person, but so was your perceptiveness in determining what kind of interaction they needed to have with you. Thanks for sharing about this time of your life.

  6. I feel too old for meals on wheels but we all can do something. I make baby quilts for hospitals. Also try to find baby shirts booties on sale so hospital can give a layete set to needy moms

  7. I used to be a volunteer for Meals on Wheels too. It is such a valuable tool to help those that are in need. I met some wonderful people and enjoyed the short visit I had with them. So many different situations and physical conditions…I always felt so much gratitude for all the blessings I've been given!

    xo
    Pat

  8. I also had a Meals On Wheels route years ago.before I got hurt at work..It is very rewarding work and I'm sure the people you served were grateful for your company..many times they have no one else and they look forward to your visit even more than they look forward to the meals..Thanks for sharing this Brenda..it brought back some happy memories..

  9. I have always admired those that did the Meals On Wheels job. I always thought it might be tough to do for fear of feeling bad for the people you were serving. I always felt it might be a heart wrenching service. The VA is heart-wrenching, too, so I expect it is a lot like that in some way You are a good soul, Brenda. xo Diana

  10. Yes Brenda, I see how your kindness has not changed one bit over the years. I remember the disadvantaged fellow that helped build your lovely water feature in Texas. I am so happy to see you thriving.

    My very best to you dear heart.
    Sue. ( luxelanai in the old sad times. )

  11. An excellent pitch for Meals on Wheels. I did it as a substitute on holidays, so the regulars could be with their families. I was told to spend as much time with the recipients as they wanted–I think I had only three or four deliveries–because it was important for them to have someone to talk to on Christmas.
    Bravo to you for having volunteered daily!

  12. That's so nice you did that. What a nice service they provide. I set my parents up for it after my mom's broken hip, she cancelled the service saying the food was too salty. I think it really was she was "too good" for help or she wanted it to be free. Oh well.

  13. Brenda, you never cease to amaze me, with what you have accomplished in your life, and still are doing so. You are an inspiration to women everywhere. I love reading your blog, thanks for sharing with us all.

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