Beverly: Volunteering Through Generations
“My husband’s dad, Bill, was actually a Meals on Wheels volunteer for several years in Athens. He even won an award as one of the best volunteers. My mother delivered for Meals on Wheels, too. So, I learned from Bill and my mom about the whole Meals on Wheels process. And, I’ve just carried on the tradition of delivering meals. I delivered in Conyers when my kids were small, and I’m delivering again now in Athens.
“When I was taking care of my father-in-law, he said, ‘When I’m gone, I think you should do Meals on Wheels again. I think it will be good for you.’ And, it is good for me. You know you get into such a caregiving mode that after someone’s gone, you’re like, ‘now what’?’
“My Meals on Wheels people keep me busy because, believe it or not, when you see someone once a week, you form a bond. As a matter of fact, when I stopped by my client Brenda’s house the other day, she said ‘I wish you would stay. You’re my best friend.’ We call ourselves the sisters. Me and another volunteer try to get together with her and take her out every now and then.
“A lot of my friends are my Meals on Wheels clients. That’s where I spend a lot of my time. They’re an inspiration really, like one of my clients, Elsie. She’s been in a wheelchair since her thirties, and she is the most upbeat person. She cracks me up. She always asks for a brownie and a glass of milk to wash it down. She’s just an inspiration to me, how she doesn’t let things bring her down. They bring a smile to my face, and I think I bring a smile to their faces.
“When you see them every week (and sometimes more than once a week), you realize that this is a person you can really connect with. I had another client who passed away, and that one really hurt. That really was quite the bond. His wife had already passed , and he had no children. They become your family, they really do.
“The thing is, they help me. One of my clients now has Parkinson’s Disease, and my father is about to be tested to see if he has it. This guy is a veteran, and my dad was in the service for 22 and a half years. So, he’s telling me what all the VA can do to help my dad, and giving me phone numbers to contact people.
“I also have a daughter who was diagnosed with bi-polar, and two of my clients have ex wives who were bi-polar. They just help me with some of the stuff I’m going through. The one that passed away, he had a niece who has bi-polar. He would call and check in on me than I checked on him.
“It’s just as good for you to volunteer as it is for the people you are serving. My father-in-law would always say that you don’t do it for yourself, but you get as much out of it.”
Interested in volunteering for MOW? Please contact our MOW Director, Jen Shaikun at email@example.com