“More than just a meal” has long been the motto of Meals on Wheels. The key role our delivery volunteers play in the lives of meal recipients was recently highlighted in a great story on the health effects of loneliness from Minnesota Public Radio.
The story’s author, Tom Weber, took the time to ride along with Meals on Wheels volunteers from CEAP Meals on Wheels in Brooklyn Park. What his time with volunteers Steve and Judy Jones revealed was just how important the social outlet provided by volunteers can be for meal recipients.
This passage in particular highlights what a friendly visit each day can bring:
After a busy life of working at General Mills and raising kids, followed by years of volunteering in retirement, Donald Lange gets a little wistful at the fact they aren’t as social as they used to be.
“I wish we could do more volunteering, but you gotta learn to accept it,” he said. “I didn’t feel old until I hit 80.”
For the Langes, the Meals on Wheels delivery is “about our only touch with the public anymore. We look forward to it daily.”
For an organization like Meals on Wheels, the mission isn’t just about delivering hot meals. The deliveries are a chance for volunteers to check in on others who might otherwise not see someone on a given day.
As the story highlights, mounting research suggests that the ill effects from loneliness can reach beyond just a person’s mental health. Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has said that prolonged loneliness has a similar effect on one’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day.
The story features a host of great resources for people who may be experiencing loneliness and importantly notes that it’s not just a problem for older adults. We’re thankful these resources exist and are eternally grateful for all of you who fight loneliness on a regular basis by volunteering with Meals on Wheels!
If you or someone you love could benefit from nutritious meals and a friendly visit from volunteer, sign up for Meals on Wheels here. If you’d like to do your part to relieve loneliness in our community, sign up to volunteer here.
Credit for photo featured in this post: Evan Frost, MPR News