Freeze column: When it comes to Meals on Wheels, I get more than I give

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 6, 2011

About nine years ago, Jackie Harris from the United Way asked me to consider delivering Meals on Wheels. I was a plant manager at the time, and our idea was to use volunteers from the plant to help deliver meals in the area.
The company was all for it, and we started delivering those meals in the China Grove area on the first Tuesday of every month. It was easy to get started and soon began what has become a very rewarding experience.
But there is more to the story. I ended up making most of the deliveries myself, simply because I enjoyed it and it was less trouble than taking someone else from their daily responsibilities.
In the beginning, I was a little bit apprehensive, but all of the recipients were thankful. I still do the first Tuesday of each month in the China Grove area.
I usually pick up the meals about 10:30 a.m. The folks at Jimmyís in China Grove prepare the meals.
They are healthy and in proper serving size. A detailed delivery sheet, some Salisbury Post newspapers, sometimes a newsletter, and a separate hot and cold portion of the meal make up what we pick up.
The delivery sheet tells the volunteer exactly how to get to each site, and what is specific to that delivery. The Post provides newspapers in certain cases.
Some people want milk, some want juice, some have specific restrictions and all of these are listed. Often, volunteers are asked to bring in the mail or pick up the newspaper.
This past Tuesday, I picked up all those things at Jimmyís Restaurant and as usual, I checked the delivery sheet to see how many meals would be delivered that day. I was very surprised to find that my meal deliveries would be only about half of normal.
Seeing this made me think back to all the people that I have met over the years through Meals on Wheels. Many just want to take the meals, thank the volunteer, and then go back what they were doing. But for some, they look forward to seeing the volunteer.
In some cases, I might be the only other person they see during the day. It is always with some curiosity that I see someone dropping off the list. More than normal were off the list on Monday.
I always wonder what has happened to any who drop off, but there is a certain pleasure in recognizing the names that I am used to seeing each month.
Here are just a couple of examples. Linda Shepherd has been on the delivery list for as long as I have been volunteering. I didnít get to see her this Tuesday, but in October we had a spirited and fun conversation about Booger Hill and Booger Woods.
Booger Hill is one of those places where the car will supposedly roll uphill. Linda had a lot of fun there. She wondered if I would write about her, so now she has an answer.
Later in the route, another constant has been Gladys Lloyd. We talk about everything from politics to the weather. She is always bright and peppy, and offers her opinions readily. I find a visit to her to be great fun. She has the best TV I have seen, and she always loves to watch ěThe View.î It isnít my favorite show. There is something in the menís manual about staying clear of that show. I can stand it at Mrs. Lloydís for a few minutes. Nowhere else though.
Bottom line, Meals on Wheels is one of those good things to do that doesnít take long. Seldom do my deliveries take more than an hour. The best volunteering is when the volunteer gets more out of it than the recipients. Certainly this is the case with Meals on Wheels. They give back to me much more than I offer. Iím hoping that next month some of the other regulars are back on the list.
Meals on Wheels is a United Way Agency, and is always in need of volunteers and substitutes.
MOW started in Rowan in 1976, and continues to provide a much needed service. Contact Rita Sims or her great staff at 704-633-0352 or get more information at www.