A Family Tradition
Dan M. retired from a robust career in the finance field a few years ago. He had always been community-oriented and wanted to find something to do in his free time that could benefit the greater community. In the 1970’s, Dan’s mom, Muriel, was a Meals on Wheels volunteer in the Louisville, Kentucky area and loved her experience. She really found joy in the socialization with clients and other volunteers. Dan thought that being a delivery driver would be a wonderful way to honor her. While Dan lives in Columbia, Maryland, he learned that there was a need for volunteers in Baltimore City. His daughter, Rachel, lived and worked in Baltimore, and he thought volunteering there would allow them to get together more often. Over the course of several years, he truly enjoyed his regular weekly route, getting to know clients and their stories.
Dan’s daughter Rachel moved to Baltimore for a teaching program and has stayed in the city, working in the nonprofit world ever since! Dan was always telling Rachel how much he enjoyed volunteering and was so passionate about the mission. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rachel found some flexibility in her Friday schedule and decided to volunteer herself, becoming the third generation of meal delivery volunteers! Through making deliveries to Baltimore seniors, Rachel feels grateful that she has the ability to contribute. Rachel says, “Meals on Wheels clients are so appreciative of the service; the consistency of the deliveries gives clients peace of mind.” Dan wholeheartedly agrees. He loves getting to see the clients and comments, “Being a MOWCM volunteer really helps to ground me as I get to know people with such unique histories and lives. One of those people is definitely Charlene.”
Charlene is 81 years old and lives in Baltimore City. She is humorous and feisty, loving to share stories and jokes. She is a Maryland native, living in the Baltimore area her entire life. Charlene loves spending time with her sons but doesn’t like to bother them because they are so busy. She enjoys living in her home and wants to stay there. Charlene’s cat, “Good Boy” whom she raised from infancy, is a huge source of joy and companionship for her. Early in 2020, Charlene’s husband had an operation. Not long after, he passed away of COVID-19. At the same time, Charlene was recovering from an injury herself. She says, “I am grateful that I was able to see him in his final days.” It has been such a difficult year for Charlene, and she sometimes gets very lonely. Volunteers like Dan are even more important to her now. She really enjoys talking to them saying, “They are so polite, friendly, and understanding.”