When Leann shared this latest client story with our staff over lunch, I immediately knew this story needed to be shared on our blog. What a great reminder to all of us just how important Meals For The Elderly is to those who need our services:
August 2, 2011-
Today a man called about one of our volunteers. As usual, Leann fielded the call after Theda, one of our amazing volunteers who answers our phones, greeted him and discovered the caller was a client with a volunteer concern.
Unsure as to why he had taken the time to phone us, Leann took the call fearing the worst. She looked up the client to determine the route he was on and who had taken him his food that day. (From time to time, clients are unsettled by the necessary changes from a regular driver to a new, substitute, or emergency driver, especially when their regular driver was near and dear to them.) This client had been faithfully served by a regular volunteer who had recently had a stroke, and substitute drivers were now being used to cover this route during the volunteer’s recovery.
Well prepared for whatever might come, Leann cheerfully greeted the client ready for anything. She asked the client what had happened with his volunteer that day, fearing he was upset by the change.
“I’m not calling to complain,” he was quick to say. “I just want to tell you that the new volunteer you sent today… she hugged me.”
A feeling of relief washed over Leann, as hugging is a common currency for our loving volunteers, staff, and our clients. He then shared with Leann something shocking:
“That’s the first hug I have had since 2005.”
Leann had scarcely the time to react before he went on to ask Leann to get in touch with this substitute driver.
“I want you to call her and thank her.”
For him, that hug met a deep void in his life– a need for human contact. It was a need that, despite the kind words and personal attention given to him and to each client receiving meals every weekday, had somehow gone unmet for an agonizingly long time.
So, Leann did what he asked. With tears in her eyes, she shared the story with the woman who gave a lonely, homebound senior his first hug in 6 years. The driver was one of the many who come into contact with our organization through their church. She had made it a point during her route that day to hug everyone she delivered to, having no idea the dramatic impact it would have.
Thank you for all that you do for Meals For The Elderly recipients. You have no idea how much you impact your elderly homebound neighbors when you take a moment to be a part of their lives. Thank you also to those churches who coordinate their members to volunteer and do routes on a regular basis, without which we would be hard-pressed to complete all 37 routes every day, without fail.
If your church would like to start serving, or if you personally would like to become a regular driver, or a much needed substitute or emergency driver, please call Leann today at 655-9200 or fill out an application on our website.
We truly appreciate everyone who helps ensure all our local seniors are fed, in every sense of the word.
We all need to remember what Aesop said: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”