On Tuesday the Cedar Rapdis Meals on Wheels were packed and delivered by staff and students from the college. I originally offered to take one of the shifts packing meals, but switched to meal delivery when the organizers indicated that they needed additional people in that role. It was not my best morning — I could not get outside my own head to focus on the moment I was in. I did not have a delivery partner, I didn’t know the area into which my delivery route took me, I killed the college car’s battery at my first delivery stop (it was a Prius and I forgot to put it into park AND left the headlights on so it couldn’t recharge), I felt rushed by my agenda later in the day. It was raining and I didn’t have an umbrella.
After the first couple of stops, that all receded and it finally sunk in that most of my delivery recipients were elderly single women. I started to wonder about their lives — not only what their days are now, but also their pasts. Had they been married? Had they gone to college? Did they have children? What were they like at 18 or at my age, 48? I could not escape the conclusion that, like me, they had lived lives holding both tears and laughter. Nor that I, like them, might someday find myself relying on strangers for my daily bread.
Should that happen, I would count myself lucky to be living in a community with a Meals on Wheels program. Meals on Wheels is the most well-known organization dedicated to preventing elder hunger. Check out their website at http://www.mowaa.org/Page.aspx?pid=183. They have pledged to end senior hunger by 2020, an ambitious goal.
I’d like to thank the college staff communciation committee, particularly my friends Colette and Sarah, who planned our service day with Meals on Wheels. Thanks to that opportunity, I am happy to make Meals on Wheels the first organization on our donation “ballot”.