Needed: Volunteers to pop by, drop off a nutritious meal, and say a quick hello to a few seniors in need.
Since 1954, Meals on Wheels has been offering a nutritious meal, a friendly visit, and a safety check to seniors. Today, there are over 5,000 independently run programs with over a million individuals that volunteer throughout America.
When my parents retired and moved to Sun Lakes, Arizona in 2002, they were looking for ways to volunteer in their new community. My dad chose Meals on Wheels and for the next 14 years, he delivered meals and companionship to home-bound seniors. Not only did he stop by with healthy food, he would stay a while to chat, play cards or read a book to his Meals on Wheels friends. Being a senior himself didn’t deter his efforts. He felt that since he was mobile and could get out, why not reach out to his peers with limitations. My dad took this responsibility very seriously; he only missed when he was out of town. He really enjoyed the friendships he made and was participating with the organization right up until his death last month.
When I heard about the new initiative, America, Let’s Do Lunch, being sponsored by Meals on Wheels and the The Ad Council, I knew this was something I could get involved with and share as a way to honor my dad and his Meals on Wheels experience.
America, Let’s Do Lunch, invites volunteers to work with Meals on Wheels and donate a lunch hour delivering meals and a smile to seniors in their area. It’s a great way to make a difference in the lives of seniors across the country, seniors who might not know where their next meal is coming from.
[bctt tweet=”Millions of seniors nationwide are struggling with hunger, isolation and the ability to pay for basic living needs. #LetsDoLunch makes a difference” username=”caryn_mlg”]
The number of seniors in our country will grow exponentially over the coming years. Meals on Wheels is a proven public-private partnership that effectively addresses the challenges of aging by promoting health and improving quality of life for our nation’s most vulnerable seniors. By leveraging the existing Meals on Wheels network, not only does it help keep seniors at home, where they want to be, but it also saves billions in tax dollars by keeping them out of more costly healthcare alternatives.
Why volunteer? Because studies show that volunteering increases energy, decreases depression, lessens isolation and lowers mortality rates. Midlife volunteers are especially valuable. Wendy Spencer, chief executive of the Corporation for National and Community Service (the federal agency in charge of the U.S. government’s AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs) thinks boomers are well-suited for …volunteering. “The thing I love about boomer volunteers is that they offer seasoned experience and lifelong lessons they’ve learned,” Spencer said.
As a volunteer for America, Let’s Do Lunch, you can choose how often you want to give up your lunch hour. You can also choose if you want to visit the same individuals or visit someone different each lunch hour.
My dad showed me the firsthand how easy it is to volunteer with Meals on Wheels. I loved hearing his stories how he was making a difference in another senior’s life simply by stopping by, leaving off a healthy meal, and visiting for a few minutes. I can keep his legacy going by sharing my lunch hour with America, Let’s Do Lunch.
Do you have a lunch hour to volunteer and make a difference too?