Thursday, July 2, 2009

Three Cheers for Volunteers

Today's Wonder of the World is...Volunteering!

Flickr photo by ssoosay
You folks do so many good things for the communities in which you live--and beyond!
Let's celebrate that volunteer spirit today, okey doke?

A couple weeks ago I mentioned my Meals on Wheels Wednesdays, and a few friends asked me to share more about that. So I thought I'd take you with me and show you around, WITH ONE CONDITION: I'll tell you about Meals on Wheels if you'll share the cool things you do where you live.
No fair keeping quiet! Tell me about the work you do volunteering in schools, in your neighborhood, in faith communities, in the world of politics, on mission trips, et cetera. Pretty please? Otherwise I'll feel like I'm tooting my own horn. We all need inspiration, not to mention ideas of new things to try!

So here's where I go every other Wednesday morning.

It's the Meals on Wheels office for Greenville County. This organization provides hot meals daily for over 1500 homebound neighbors, free of charge.
It takes over 2500 volunteers to participate.
Some work in the kitchen, preparing and packing the meals.

Not me! I just show up and deliver the fruit of everyone else's labor. I get to play Santa Claus, giving away food for free! And I get a chance to get to know some amazing people. I've had the same route for several years now and love my clients dearly.

Anyway, back to my day...
We load up my cooler

And I get their milk and juice. (Forgive my blurry photos. I must start laying off the coffee in the morning!)

And I pick up the donated bread and treats. Notice the sign: Bread is for Clients Only. It looks really good!

Then I head off for the west side of town. My route is in one of Greenville's old textile mill villages. Our town used to be known as The Textile Jewel of the South, but most of the mills closed their doors at least twenty years ago, leaving the villages to slowly decompose.
I want to protect my clients' privacy so I won't share their sweet faces, but I'd love to show you around the neighborhood.

These are typical mill houses. There's so much history here!
There are a couple of trailer parks too.

And lots and lots of cats.

See them waiting for me? We deliver donated pet food along with the people food. The kitties see me and come running!
By the way, a local spay and neuter program is beginning to work in the community as well, offering their services for free.

I wish you could meet my clients. They're funny and sweet and very tough people. They need the food Meals on Wheels provides, but they also need the human interaction, the hugs, and the conversation. Several of them have no family left and spend their days completely alone. They break my heart and lift my spirit, all at the same time.

Plus, they're just so interesting!
Look what one of my clients carries around in his pocket!

A family of monkeys his daddy carved out of peach pits years ago!

I love their sense of humor.

In case you can't read it, that unreachable mailbox is labeled Bills.

So there it is, my Meals on Wheels route.
Now it's your turn. What volunteer jobs do you enjoy most? What would you like to try? I'd love to hear about it!

Have a super weekend, everyone! I'll be taking a little blogging break next week, but hopefully I'll have a chance to drop by your place and say hi!
Love, Becky


Nathan Bransford said...

Loved this! Hooray for volunteers!

Sherry said...

Hip, hip, hooray for you! Volunteerism is very important. Some people want the government to do much of these activities, but the government doesn't have the "caring" aspect, and that is a crucial part of volunteering -- becoming emotionally involved.

Sherry at EX Marks the Spot

judy in ky said...

I loved this too. So inspiring. Meals on Wheels is such a great program. And it pleases me that you take food for the pets, too. I wonder if we have a spay and neuter program where I live. I haven't lived here that long, and will look for these programs. I think you have inspired another volunteer.

May Vanderbilt said...

Funny you should mention it! Tomorrow I'm flying to Peru with a group of people to volunteer in a kids center there.

The kids come from the surrounding rural villages to learn basic skills--and give their parents a break from feeding and clothing them for a while.

I think Meals on Wheels is so important and so you! Good work, lady!

Silicon Valley Diva said...

Thank you to and all the Meals on Wheels workers. When my grandfather (recently passed away at 90 yrs.) became incapacitated due to Alzheimers they also received some free meals in their home. What a godsend! This helped lighten my grandmother's load tremendously.
Which reminds me, we have a local senior center here that I need to follow up with. I plan on helping them, esp. with the youngest off to kindergarten in the fall!

Kelly H-Y said...

Yay!!! Way to go! I loved this post ... and getting to see your wonderful Meals on Wheels route! Thank you for sharing it!
I would love to do Meals on Wheels ... and help with Special Olympics. Right now, though ... a lot of my volunteering is through our church (I'm on the Council, and do a ton of work with the children's programs) and the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

TattingChic said...

That is so cool that you do that, Becky! WOW! What a cool volunteer job! I'll bet they just love you!

LW said...

What a great program, what a great post...
Just love the carved monkey key chain…

Enjoy your blog break see you when you get back …


a Tonggu Momma said...

LOVED this post! As for my favorite places to volunteer... it's wherever my heart leads during that particular season in my life.

Rosemary said...

Yay for you!!!
Happy 4TH!!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

How fantastic! Hooray for you, Becky! Great post and super cute monkeys:)

lotusgirl said...

I love volunteers too. It's something that brings out the best in us. When we feel the spirit of it, it can't help but bring joy to our hearts. Kudos to you for the ways you serve others.

Anonymous said...

What great work you do! Meals on Wheels is a wonderful program. I am taking a break from volunteering to start a small retail business here in Asheville.
But I feel that I did put in my fair share of volunteer time over these past 10 years. Come visit:

Susan Tuttle said...

my heart feels full after reading this. Meals on Wheels gave my grandfather not only nutrition, but something warm and caring to look forward to each day.

Gary and Elizabeth~ said...

You are the sweetest and you have made so many folks happy, I'm sure it fills your heart with joy.
You have been blessed from the people you help and they are blessed by your kindness.
Enjoy your day,

Ronnie said...

What a great organization. You may have sold me. I've done a bunch of volunteering over the years, but not now. It always gave me such a good feeling to help out. Perhaps I'll begin again. Enjoy your summer!

Jojo said...

I know you're in SC. Be safe and God bless.

Suzie said...

I used to do Gods Love We Deliver. I was great fun and a great cause

Anonymous said...

Volunteers are what make the world go round. Good for you!!

Marie Antionette said...

Meals on Wheels is a wonderous thing.I just read yesterday that here in Miss,that hundreds will go hungry tonite.In this day and age ,its hard to believe that this is going on in America,the greatest country that is.Incrediable.So dear keep up your good work and May God bless you.
Now what I do.I know you have visited me on several occasions.Did you ever read all my profile? On it ,it will say I make clothes for little girls.These clothes go all over the world ,where they are needed.Mine mostly go to Indian reservations here in the good old USA and to Africa.I make about 3-5 a week.It depends on my health.A friend of mine who makes not only clothes ,but blankets ,school bags ,all sorts of things ,got me to do this.It was only suppose to be a couple of dresses,I'm up to 173 so far.I love it.All of this is done though the Morman church.I am not a Morman ,but I don't think God or those precious little girls care.XXOO Marie Antionette

Susan said...

The meals on wheels is a great program. My uncle used to volunteer for this and he always went to see the "old folks", he was probably 75 at the time. Apparently volunteering keeps you young. Take care, Susan.

rochambeau said...

I love you for this Becky!

Thank YOU~ for being YOU~

adrienne said...

Wonderful story...thanks for taking us on your route! I love that the animals are taken care of, too.

Martha said...

Loved seeing your volunteer photos from around Greenville. When I retire I want to volunteer at GMHS, preferrably in the NICU nursery. My daughter's mother-in-law volunteers there and gets to rock the babies. Wouldn't that be some wonderful job! Hope you're having a wonderful July. Martha in Greenville, too.

TattingChic said...

Hello to the wonderful Becky! You are missed!
I wanted to let you know that I'm having a giveaway! Be sure to come on over and join in!

Barb said...

Hi Becky,

Wonderful post! I know you are a welcome addition to such a great program.

Thank you for taking us along on your journey.

Enjoy your break.


Debbie Egizio said...

Volunteering is wonderful! I do compassion calls for people who are in crisis. My background is in psych and I thought it would be nice to give to the community in this way since I no longer work in the field. Thanks for sharing! Enjoy your break. I've been on a very loooonnngg blog break as well. Glad to be back.

Anonymous said...

Volunteering is great! I work with a program called ChemoAngels. I am assigned a patient and send cards and little gifts each week while my patient is receiving chemo treatments. I enjoy shopping for special items for my patient. It's rewarding and fun. Anyone can join. Visit and find out all you need to know. You can be a full chemo angel, a card angel, or a senior angel. There is a yahoo group and an angel's corner, so you get lots of help with ideas and answers to questions. Happy volunteering!