Monday, October 16, 2017

Meals on Wheels

We've been delivering Meals on Wheels for 5 months now. When I looked into volunteering, the website said a route would take about 1 hour. Once I was placed with a coordinator, she told me the route would take an hour and a half. Then when you add in getting the kids in and out of the car at every stop, our route takes us 2 hours. After our first delivery, I was a bit overwhelmed. 2 hours in the car is a long time for the kids! Getting them in and out of the car is exhausting and my back was sore! I filled in on routes where drivers weren't able to be there pretty frequently in the beginning and the kids got tired of doing it. I wasn't sure I'd chosen the best volunteering opportunity for myself and the kids. But I'm so glad I stuck it out and gave it a while longer to see how it worked out. I told my supervisor I couldn't fill in on extra routes anymore because it was too much for the kids and she was very understanding. Now we just deliver once every 3 weeks which is perfect. Carter gets excited to go and doesn't fuss about being in the car. 
Carter getting a meal out of the cooler.
I originally chose Meals on Wheels because Carter loves to talk to people and especially enjoys adults. I thought it would be good for the recipients to interact with a child. I figured they would adore the kids. Now after doing it for months I realize it is also such a great experience for the kids. I hadn't thought of how it would be good for them other than just seeing how important it is to love thy neighbor and be helpful and all that. I wanted to instill in them the attitude of serving others at a young age. But Meals on Wheels is such a great way for them to learn social skills and practice how to behave when meeting someone knew. It gives them the vocabulary and allows them to see through my example what to say. I love seeing how they've grown over time. They have their favorite friends they like to visit and we spend more time at those houses, chatting with our friends. There are some houses Carter will occasionally stay in the car for but others where he will always go with me.

When we get out of the car I tell the kids who we are visiting. It means so much to our friends to hear the kids call them by name. They comment on how special they feel that the kids remember them. Carter has always been very outgoing and will go right up to adults to chat but Elise was always more comfortable hanging behind Carter and letting him do the talking. Now she'll run up to the house and jocky with him for the best position. Then yell really loudly, "Hello, Dorothy (or whoever's house we are at)," in an attempt to be heard over Carter. It is so cute! I'm loving seeing her blossom and really improve her social skills through these interactions. As we leave, both kids will yell out, "Bye, have a good day!" It really is the sweetest thing! The bonus about delivering to older adults is they tend to be less self-conscious and don't mind when Carter asks questions that aren't exactly socially appropriate. Then when we're in the car, I'm able to have a little talk with him about what would be appropriate.  It's so cute to see the kids handing the meals to the adults. Once Elise was holding the meal up and the lady couldn't quite reach it so she started to bend over. I started to take the meal from Elise so the lady didn't have to bend over and she said, "No, let her do it! I can bend over for that sweet girl." She got so much joy out of getting the meal straight from Elise's hand. It warmed my heart and Elise sure felt like a big girl!

I've noticed my attitude impacts how our time delivering meals goes too. When we first started I would get stressed out that we were so behind schedule and people were going to get their meals late and my attitude made the experience less enjoyable for the kids. As time went on, I was able to relax and go in with the mindset of, people will be happy to get their meals and we are going to take time to talk to our friends if they want to chat with us. One of our friends told me we are usually the only people he gets to talk to during the day so we always make sure to turn the car off at his house and chat with him on the porch. Another lady tells us she loves us each time and says she sure gets a kick out of seeing the kids, that seeing them is the best part of her day. I love the friendships we've made through our route and am so glad we have been on the same route the whole time so we can get to know our recipients. The kids' favorites are either people who really like to talk to them or people who have dogs. Their favorite people to visit are Harry, Gordon, Dorothy, and Betty. I will always remember them and the sweet role they have played in my children's lives. I will miss seeing them when I go back to work full-time and won't be able to deliver meals anymore. But for now we have 17-20 friends we see every third Monday and we really enjoy that!  
Elise carrying a the bag with milk and a fruit, Carter carrying the meal.


  1. Very sweet. What a good idea.

    1. It's so cute to see. They are just adorable! I imagine being older and having little kids deliver meals to me. I would just love it!