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Wheeling and Mealing

What Meals on Wheels volunteers say

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Wheeling and Mealing

Volunteering can improve the state of your own health while adding to the quality of the lives of others. In fact, helping others is proven to be one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. Meals on Wheels provides great opportunities for this kind of exchange.

Volunteering can improve the state of your own health while adding to the quality of the lives of others. In fact, helping others is proven to be one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. Meals on Wheels provides great opportunities for this kind of exchange.

Harry and Flo Brewer have been delivering meals as a team for 19 years. They see it as a good thing for a couple to do together. Flo suggests, “It’s a way for retirees to get out and work on something worthwhile. We’re both healthy, so why sit around? The feeling of helping other people is very rewarding.”

Harry shares a deeply personal experience: “You never know what you’ll find. While delivering a meal, I saw a picture of a ship’s company on the wall in a gentleman’s home. I asked him about it and it turned out he had served on the same ship as my father during the war. It felt good to share that connection because my father passed away some time ago, when he was only 74.”

Payback Time

Because Peggy MacDonald experienced the benefit of Meals on Wheels firsthand, she made a personal commitment to volunteer once she retired.

“In the 1980s we had Meals on Wheels for my mother. She was almost blind and had chosen to continue to live in her own home. The whole family was working and weren’t available for her during the day. Mom didn’t need nursing and we knew that a caring volunteer was checking in on her every day, bringing her a hot meal Monday to Friday. She loved that a friendly volunteer was coming and it made her get up and get dressed. She prepared for the visit and it provided some structure and motivation for her life.”

When asked about how volunteering benefits her personal health, Peggy replies: “It does me good! I see so much when I’m doing my route downtown that I return home with a new perspective of what’s important and what’s not. It makes me appreciate what I have in my life.”

Food for the Soul

The International Journal of Aging and Human Development confirms Peggy’s experience: “The past 25 years of research among North American elders provides the basis for generally inferring [the] largely beneficial effects [of] among both older volunteers and those they serve.”

Authors Allan Luks and Peggy Payne investigate documented evidence further in The Healing Power of Doing Good (iUniverse, 2001). Those who help others report health benefits that include:

  • a stronger immune system
  • a healthier cardiovascular system
  • speedier recovery from surgery
  • reduced insomnia
  • reduced pain
  • increased energy and a heightened sense of personal health
  • a more optimistic, happier outlook on life

Our seasoned volunteer, Peggy, sums up her experience simply: “Providing food for people is essential. It’s a basic for life–and Meals on Wheels is food for the tummy and the soul.”

Volunteer here

To volunteer for Meals on Wheels, check for the local branch in your telephone directory.

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