I am chaplain at the San Angelo State Supported Living Center, and sponsor for the Aktion Club, an outreach of the San Angelo West Kiwanis Club to those who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Aktion Club delivers a Meals For The Elderly route each week on Thursday morning. Every Thursday I travel with three members of the club from our campus to the Meals For The Elderly office and then to our route.
On this particular morning, we noticed that there was a birthday gift for us to take on our route and a note on our route sheet that one of our clients was celebrating her birthday that day. We collected our food for delivery and the birthday gift, and we planned to make that delivery first. The club members expressed a desire to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to the lady and we practiced the song all the way there.
After arriving at the subsidized housing unit that contains our whole route, we parked the van, decided who would carry the meal, decided who would carry the gift, and practiced singing ‘Happy Birthday’ one more time.
When we got to the door, the individuals who were with me were so excited the client was coming to the door that they could hardly contain themselves. As soon as the client opened the door, without waiting for her to open her storm door, they burst into singing the Birthday song. Finishing up with a flourish and with smiles from ear-to-ear, they handed her the birthday gift and her meal.
She received both with tears in her eyes and said, “you are the only ones who will say that to me all day, and it means so much.” By that time, I was in tears, as were my guys. She was wished happy birthday four more times before we walked away.
Each year since that occasion, the same three guys who were with me that day start asking in May: Is it her birthday yet? Can I go with you when it is?
These individuals I serve as chaplain don’t get a bunch of opportunities to give back to the community, but they sure enjoy delivering meals once a week. So do I! As a matter of fact, I worked with the volunteer coordinator at Meals for the Elderly, and I deliver the same route on Friday that the Aktion club delivers on Thursday.
What a blessing it is to serve others. I hope you’ll join me!