Giving back. There is nothing quite like the reality check when you step into the living room of a 92-year-old, who hasn’t had communication with another person in two days. Being isolated can stir powerful emotions in an individual. Research shows that social interaction is one of the basic human needs. Meals on Wheels is a national organization that delivers meals to seniors that are unable to cook for themselves. More than that, the deliveries offer these individuals an opportunity to have a brief social interaction.
In New York State 2.3 million residents rely on emergency food assistance annually. 5% of these people are seniors that are often forgotten. Buffalo, NY is the second largest Meals on Wheels site in the nation.
Photo credit: Meals on Wheels
I was introduced to Meals on Wheels when I was a teenager. I saw a tattered billboard on Main Street and asked my parents to get involved. I joined the Amherst division and saw the impact immediately. Upon moving to the West Side this year, I knew there was still a crucial need for this service in that community. I began volunteering again, serving a route that was only a few miles away from where I had work.
Hand packaged, individually wrapped hot and cold meals indicate the specific meal each client is to receive.
Once I started working at 19 IDEAS, the “Work with a Purpose” mantra resonated with my core values. In my first staff meeting, there was a brainstorm on community service and volunteerism and I immediately thought of Meals on Wheels. We soon became a part of the corporate Adopt-a-route-program and received training from the regional volunteer coordinator who came to our office to welcome us into the program. Now, our team contributes to the organization by delivering meals monthly in our community. It has been a rich and rewarding experience getting to know our neighbors in the west side and bring smiles to Buffalo’s senior citizens, 19 IDEAS style.
Knock Hard! Careful instructions are placed with every team to streamline receipt of meals. Some seniors have a hard time hearing which is indicated in their instructions section.
For more information on Meals on Wheels for WNY, contact Lauren Gousy: