VOLUNTEERING - When giving becomes a way of living!
by Mary M. Anderson, Board Member, Sierra Senior Services
Unselfish and noble actions are the most radiant pages in the biography of souls.
The greatest gift we can give is ourselves. Volunteerism has the power to ignite passion, inspire change, bring hope for tomorrow and impact the community. As Truckee/North Lake Tahoe’s Meals on Wheels provider, our goal is to bring good daily nutrition that keeps seniors healthy and living independently at home — a goal we all hope to achieve. Our nutrition program also brings daily human contact to let seniors know they are not forgotten and are worthy of continued love, care and support.
Each and every day our dedicated Meals on Wheels volunteer drivers deliver a difference to at-risk seniors living in our area by bringing a hot, nutritious meal that fights malnutrition and a warm smile that alleviates depression and isolation. At Meals on Wheels, nourishment is not just about delivering a hot meal; it is also sharing time and making an impact on individuals enrolled in the program. In other words, the human connection the volunteer driver brings is as nourishing as the food provided.
It is all about commitment. It’s about making certain that homebound seniors have a well-balanced meal, some social contact and a daily check on their well being. For many, the volunteer driver is the only person a senior sees that day. Our dedicated volunteers are a true reflection that we live in a caring community. They view aging people as a precious asset that we should continue to learn from, honor and support. A volunteer recently said, “We are often called the Food People. It is so rewarding to know that we make a difference in senior’s lives.” Some of our volunteers have been with us for nearly decades. Our volunteers believe our program is so much more than “just a meal.” It is a lifelong opportunity to grow and give time to enhance the lives of the mothers and fathers of our community.
During the past 15 years of operation, our volunteers have collectively driven 722,627 miles; provided 376,195 meals and volunteered over 480,186 hours on behalf of 4,195 seniors in our community. Volunteers are the lifeline of our agency and as we often call them, the driving force behind our mission. Perhaps their impact is best summed up from a senior, “I look forward to getting my daily meal and talking with the volunteer driver. They always have something to say that brightens my day. I hope they never stop doing this.”
In April, Sierra Senior Services will honor our cherished volunteers at an appreciation luncheon to thank them for their continued commitment to our aging population. Without our volunteers, we could not sustain the home-delivered meals program. They are an example of what it means to live in a caring community that desires to keep seniors healthy and living independently. Simply put, our Meals on Wheels volunteers are the best of gifts!
For further information on volunteering, call Carolyn at 530-550-7600 or visit our website at www.sierraseniors.org