Thursday, March 12, 2009

Meals on Wheels

"Meals on Wheels" has been a part of my life for the last couple of years, so I was sad to have to give it up this year due to the change in our schedule. My first personal experience with Meals on Wheels was when my Grandpa and Grandma moved into an "not-really-assisted" assisted living apartment. Grandpa couldn't see (due to macular degeneration) and Grandma couldn't walk without a walker, so taking care of a house got to be too difficult for them. They were fiercely independent, though, and refused any assistance that my father set up for them; often cancelling it behind my dad's back. It was only after Grandma was put back into a nursing home, that Grandpa agreed to having Meals on Wheels come in. He used to gripe and gripe about it, but he was always waiting at the door at 10:30 a.m. every day looking out for his "lady." And boy, would you hear about it if she was late!

When we moved to Ellwood City, PA and were living with Darrell's dad, I was trying to get to know people and find things to do in the community. I saw an article in the local paper about how Meals on Wheels needed volunteers and I thought that was something I could do with small children. The commitment was only an hour every three weeks and they always set me up with someone to ride along, since Alec and Ann-Marie were with me. I soon began to look forward to my time on Meals on Wheels.....the people who rode along with me (always retirees) who had rich stories about the community, the elderly shut-ins who looked forward to seeing the little girl who looked like "Shirley Temple" and the cute baby, and finding my way around my adopted community. We continued through the summer and Evan especially looked forward to delivering the meals when school was out. It became our way of giving back. In the Fall of 2007, we bought our house in Patterson and I was able to continue Meals on Wheels until Ann-Marie started kindergarten in September 2008. I sadly stopped doing Meals on Wheels because I couldn't make it to the bus stop in time to pick up Ann-Marie. I thought my season was over.

This morning, I received a call from the Meals on Wheels in Beaver Falls (College Hill). It seems that western PA is a small area. One of my former riders had given this lady my name if they needed help. So, it seems, I'm back on.....closer to home so I'll have time to do my route before picking up Ann-Marie. I'm community to learn, new riders to enrich my life, and most importantly, new elderly who need the meals, a big smile, and the joy of seeing kids giving back.

It is important for our family to teach our children that they are a part of the community they live in, to take care of each other, and to always find ways to serve others. Meals on Wheels has given our family this opportunity. So I urge you, if you have the heart, the time, and even young children at home....Meals on Wheels is a ministry you can participate in.

Psalm 71:9 Do not cast me away when I am old; Do not forsake me when my strength is gone.

Leviticus 19:32 "Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord."

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