A volunteer’s story…
Libbie recently retired from full-time teaching after a fulfilling 35-year career. Throughout the decades, she taught a variety of subjects including music, computer lessons, and math to middle school-aged students. While Libbie currently works part-time as a virtual tutor, she found herself with more time on her hands and wanted to give back. After working with children for so long, Libbie was ready to volunteer with a new population, and knew that older adults were often underserved. Because her mother and mother-in-law had previously volunteered with Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland (MOWCM) she knew that’s where she wanted to be.
In October 2019, Libbie attended a volunteer orientation with MOWCM. The Grocery Assistance Program (GAP) immediately piqued her interest. GAP, now in its twenty-first year of operation, provides support to homebound individuals who cannot shop for themselves. Participants are matched with a dedicated and consistent volunteer and together they agree on a shopping and delivery schedule. Libbie loved how the program fostered relationship-building with clients and that she would have the opportunity to spend time visiting during deliveries.
Libbie has now been a GAP volunteer for over a year, and absolutely loves it. She has developed real connections with her clients and enjoys finding generational commonalities as they share stories of the past.
At the beginning of the pandemic, one of her clients was very concerned about her going to the grocery store for him, as he was worried she would be exposed to the virus. Instead, they continued to communicate virtually or by phone. One day, the client asked Libbie if she would be willing to help him install a new computer describing his computer as his, “connection to the world.” Libbie assured him that she would help, providing an incredible and needed service. Sometimes, Libbie’s clients will express feelings of guilt for “taking too much of her time.” However, Libbie tells them this is not the case responding, “I get so much out of this too. It helps with my own need of human interaction, especially during the pandemic.”
Libbie is a perfect example of how volunteering truly makes a difference in the lives of both clients and volunteers themselves! If you are interested in volunteering, visit https://www.mealsonwheelsmd.org/volunteer/ to learn about our current areas of need.
Grocery Shoppers’ Gallery