At Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, we recognize the sacrifice our military volunteers make and the resilience that veteran clients continue to show in their daily lives. Whether through packing meals, delivering meals, making calls, or as a participant in our programs, we are proud to highlight stories from military members of our MOWCM family.
The Junior Sailors’ Association Gives Back
The Junior Sailors’ Association (JSA) is a group of dedicated junior sailors (rank E5 and below) at Fort Meade Military Base in Anne Arundel County. The group acts as a support system to its members and hosts activities such as social events, hikes, holiday parties, and mentorship programs. At the core of the association is volunteer work and community engagement. Volunteer Chair, Amanda L. wanted to find a consistent, monthly volunteer opportunity for the group, and was familiar with Meals on Wheels programs from her time in San Antonio.
After learning that her group could pack meals on a monthly basis at MOWCM, she eagerly reached out. Amanda says, “I thought it was a great opportunity for continuous service to members of the community who need it most.” Every month, six to eight members of the JSA visit Baltimore to pack meals together for Meals on Wheels clients. Amanda comments, “We love how fast paced it is, the time seems to just go by. It’s also heartwarming to see the tangible impact of the work at the end of the shift.” We are thrilled to have the JSA volunteers with us each month and thank them for their service.
Call Connections: Commonality Across Generations
Jasmine L. grew up in a military family with her parents and grandfather who served in the Navy. Following in their footsteps, Jasmine is now pursuing a college degree in cybersecurity while in the Navy herself. She is currently serving at Fort Meade and is part of the Junior Sailors’ Association. Jasmine has always loved volunteering and decided to help pack meals with the JSA group.
Because of her unique work schedule however, she wanted to find a volunteer opportunity that was a bit more flexible. When Jasmine learned about MOWCM’s Call Connections program, she thought it may be a good fit. The program matches clients with a Call Star volunteer for wellness phone calls. Some clients enjoy a brief check-in with their volunteer each week, while others enjoy the opportunity for deeper socialization. As part of the program, military volunteers are offered the option to be matched with a veteran client, fostering a special bond. Jasmine enjoys speaking with her client each week and they talk about everything, “from children to fostering cats, to general updates.” Jasmine says that her client is always telling her how grateful she is and how much of a blessing their phone calls are.
Jasmine says, “I am glad to provide that for her. The experience really opens my eyes to other situations, you really never know what another person is going through.”
Honoring our Homebound Heroes
Lamar S. is an 86-year-old retired military veteran who lives in Baltimore City with his wife. Though Lamar was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, he has lived in Baltimore for over 50 years. He enjoys spending time with his many grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren! Lamar was in the Air Force in the 1950s and during this time he was stationed in Utah, right near the Nevada border. He recalls watching Las Vegas being built right before his eyes during his service in the area.
When the pandemic started, Lamar heard Baltimore’s Mayor Scott speak about Meals on Wheels, he knew that this would be a needed service in his life, as the pandemic forced Lamar to remain in his home. Lamar says of the home-delivered meals, “I enjoy the meals; they are healthy and always on time. They bring me peace of mind that I will have food to eat during this pandemic!”
Beyond home-delivered meals, Lamar also received several new windows through a program funded specifically for veterans by a Helping Homebound Heroes grant from the Home Depot Foundation and Meals on Wheels America. Lamar comments, “I am very appreciative of the new windows and had a great experience with all the staff involved!” We are proud to serve Lamar and all of our homebound heroes.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities such as Call Connections, meal packing, and meal delivery, visit mealsonwheelsmd.org/volunteer.