Our March Volunteer Spotlight is Carolyn Neuwirth! Carolyn has served as a Meals on Wheels volunteer out of our Madella Hilliard Senior Center in Georgetown for many years. During March for Meals’ Community Champions Week, we especially want to celebrate our dedicated volunteers and the positive difference they make in our community every day.
Q: How long have you been delivering Meals on Wheels?
A: I have been delivering Meals on Wheels for approximately six years.
Q: Why did you decide to volunteer for Meals on Wheels?
A: I am retired and for the first time, I had the opportunity to do volunteer work. I was looking for a meaningful way to give back to the community. My parents, who were active role models in serving the nutritionally at-risk communities, showed me the way. I’m proudly following in their footsteps.
Q: Why do you think Meals on Wheels is important for seniors living on their own?
A: I have found many reasons seniors living on their own who are served my Meals on Wheels can be nutritionally at-risk: the misperception, particularly for Sun City, everyone who lives there has money/means to eat nutritionally but they do not; as well as, regardless of where they live, homebound seniors either may be estranged from their children, don’t want to bother their children, don’t have any other family or friends/neighbors to ensure they get nutritional meals; they have lost their independence, e.g., the inability to drive, cook, be ambulatory, or have memory issues, etc.
Q: What is your favorite part about volunteering for Meals on Wheels?
A: Primarily, my favorite part is the interaction with Meals on Wheels recipients. It affirms I have done a good deed that day by helping someone eat a nutritious (and delicious) meal, along with many other things I may do for them, e.g., ensuring they are safe/well, buttoning their buttons, bringing in/taking out mail, opening their milk and cellophane on their meals, opening pill bottles, making them laugh by dressing up for non-religious holidays and/or taking them holiday-related candies, telling them to enjoy their day, hugging/holding their hands (with permission) when they are in need, etc. Additionally, at various times over the years, I have assisted with interviewing potential Meals on Wheels recipients for eligibility or helped with redeterminations, worked in the office answering the phone, and helped at non-profit events. Basically, any role I play is my favorite part.
Q: What would you tell someone interested in donating to or volunteering for Meals on Wheels?
A: It is a rewarding experience and only involves a couple of hours for approximately 1 to 5 days every 6 weeks or you can be a “floater-on-call” to fill in when Meals on Wheels needs help with deliveries. I do the latter and fill in for all the different faith-based communities who provide volunteers. It’s a win-win experience. You get the self-fulfillment of knowing you touched another’s life; and for the clients, they really appreciate you for bringing them a nutritional meal, giving them the opportunity of interacting with another person, and making them feel valued.