Volunteering as a family provides immeasurable benefits such as increased connectedness and a deepened sense of purpose. Father and daughter volunteer duo, Sharon Englisch and Kent Kwiatkowski are a perfect example of a family giving back to impact their community in a positive way. Kent is a resident of Leisure World in Silver Spring, MD. Leisure World, a 55+ neighborhood is described by MOWCM* Southwest Area Manager, Carrie Dell as, “a thriving and diverse community of older adults with a warm, welcoming, and responsive infrastructure of community leaders.”
A few years ago, Ken was looking for a valuable way to use his time when he saw an advertisement in the biweekly Leisure World newspaper about volunteering with Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland. He jumped right in and enjoyed the experience. However, after delivering for a few years, Kent took a break for health reasons.
Mid-2020, Kent and his daughter Sharon were taking a walk together. Kent told Sharon how he was starting to get a bit restless and isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic and didn’t have much to do. Sharon herself was interested in trying something new and looking for an opportunity to give back to the community. She remembered Kent’s history as a Meals on Wheels volunteer, and thought it was the perfect activity for them to do together.
Over the past several months, Sharon and Kent have been delivering meals to Leisure World residents and loving every minute. It is an opportunity for them to give back to Kent’s own community in a way they feel most comfortable. Sharon also appreciates how quickly they were able to get involved and the smooth and thorough virtual orientation that answered all the safety questions they had. Savannah Sweeney, MOWCM Leisure World Site Coordinator comments, “Kent and Sharon have gone above and beyond so many times-always willing to deliver extra boxes or wait for clients.”
Sharon and Kent know that COVID-19 has had a huge impact on aging adults, isolating them more than ever before. And while deliveries do not involve direct contact, Sharon says, “it gives clients something to look forward to each week. It provides a reason to get up that day.”
*MOWCM = Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland