I think it’s important for everybody to find a cause and give back in some fashion. Throughout my life, I’ve been able to be a part of many causes, charities and organizations. One place I’m unfamiliar with though is the Senior Services of Wichita.
They are an organization that is widely regarded as the experts on aging. Senior Services has been around since the 60s. To this date they now serve just under 9,000 seniors every year and have become the trusted leader in senior care and advocacy for Wichita, Kansas.
While they have many programs, the one most people have probably heard of is Meals on Wheels.
Meals on Wheels is a program for volunteers to deliver a hot, nutritious noon meal to home bound people age 60+ each weekday. More than just a meal, the program provides a friendly, familiar face at the doors of home bound people every day. Some of these people are living in Wichita with no family or are unable to cook for themselves. There are multiple reasons why someone may need this service but ultimately, I don’t care for the reasons. People need to eat and that’s good enough for me.
I was asked if I’d be willing to volunteer one day and help deliver meals. There was no hesitation in my answer. I arrived at the Senior Services of Wichita building in Delano and given a quick tour of the facility. After that, we walked over to the kitchen where all the meals were made on site.
When I arrived to the kitchen, the staff was working their tails off to get meals packed and ready to go.
Every volunteer was given a bag of warm meals, some cold items, a drink and a delivery route. My route had 9 addresses in the east to southeast part of town. I want to thank the Development Director, Chris Heiman, for joining and showing me the ropes as I drove to the various houses and apartments to deliver food.
To those curious what the delivery portion was like, it took roughly an hour and a half to complete. The route I was given was already organized so I wouldn’t be backtracking all over town. Everything address was in sequential order to the next.
The process of delivering the meals involved me driving to the person’s house, grabbing a bag and placing both the hot and cold potions of the meals in, then walking up to their residence, placing the meal on the door handle and taking a step back. From there, I’d knock on the door or ring the doorbell and await their answer. Once they answered, I’d greeted each person by name, introduced myself, and let them know their meal had arrived.
Some people would peek out the door, say a quick thanks, and grab their meal. Others would stop and have a small little chat. I felt bad because I knew some people were probably excited to see another person’s face (I felt worse it was my face they had to see and not someone better looking). I wasn’t able to stay long and chat which made me feel worse. One lady stuck out as she was just over the moon when she answered the door. She had the brightest smile that made her eyes sparkle; so incredibly sweet. She was beyond thankful and gave me all the warm fuzzies to last a lifetime.
Not all deliveries are like that, though. I was told some stories of deliveries gone bad such as a person falling and unable to get up. Fortunately, the delivery person could hear them through the door asking for help. Senior Services then has the emergency contact and can assist with those situations. One thing I realized is Meals on Wheels doesn’t just provide meals but a lifeline and some form of contact with the outside world which is priceless.
We have many organizations and causes in town and it really hit home that senior care is one that seems to get lost in the shuffle. One of the beauties about volunteering for Meals on Wheels is it’s a low investment. An hour and a half of your time isn’t much. They aren’t asking for money or anything, just a small portion of your day between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. I was told companies in the community help a lot too. For instance, Davis Moore sends one employee each day out to help deliver meals which I thought was really cool. I’m a huge advocate for the “Spread Love” mentality and what better way through the love of food?
If you’re interested in learning more about Meals on Wheels, check out their webpage.
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