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Fostering Connections: The Compassionate Impact of Connie and Kevin With Meals on Wheels
Byline: Vivian Grifantini, Associate Director of Volunteer Programs, Meals on Wheels San Diego County
On most mornings, volunteers Connie and Kevin start their day by delivering meals to seniors in San Diego County.
Connie and Kevin are volunteers with Meals on Wheels San Diego County. The organization strives to bring nutritious meals, social connection, and safety checks to over 4,000 seniors across the County.
Connie and Kevin care deeply about the organization’s mission to “empower seniors and veterans to remain independent by nourishing their bodies, minds, and spirits.” Connie has been volunteering with Meals on Wheels for over a decade and encouraged her husband to join when he retired. The duo described how they have come to learn the stories of the clients they serve, and the connections they make with seniors keep them coming back. “We really enjoy seeing them,” Kevin said.
While the couple helps Meals on Wheels seniors, the program helps Connie and Kevin just as much.
“If we weren’t volunteering with Meals on Wheels, we would never leave the house,” Kevin said.
“It makes us get up in the morning,” Connie said.
The volunteer program has given the couple a positive, meaningful way to spend their time and help get them out into the community. At the same time, their impact on the community has been significant.
The volunteers from Meals-on-Wheels “are always courteous and friendly,” staid one senior. “The Best! They show how much they care.”
Another senior said, “I know many of my volunteers by name. They make our lives more beautiful.”
“Meals on Wheels is a great way to get inexpensive, nutritious meals delivered right to your door,” said Vivian Grifantini, Associate Director of Volunteer Programs. “Volunteers are also trained to check on seniors if they don’t answer the door, so they can provide critical safety checks. And if someone is feeling lonely, talking to a friendly volunteer can really help to brighten their day.”
Connie and Kevin recalled a time when a senior on their route experienced a medical emergency. This particular individual was isolated and had little to no daily social interactions, except for seeing Meals on Wheels volunteers. After not getting an answer at the door, Connie and Kevin discovered that the person was down on the floor after having fallen. They called medical services and stayed with the senior until medical attention arrived. Connie and Kevin said they have experienced similar emergencies with other customers and are thankful they have been able to help.
Not only do Meals on Wheels clients appreciate Connie and Kevin’s consistent service, but their pets do too. One person said, “My dog and I look forward daily to greeting the volunteers.” The duo regularly bring cat and dog treats with them to give to the seniors’ pets. “It helps foster a connection with the senior,” Kevin said. “Many of the dogs are so excited by the Wheels on Meals visits that they recognize the sound of the volunteers’ cars coming down the street.”
Connie and Kevin volunteer four times a week in the South County area. Thanks to their consistent commitment, their volunteer work helps both themselves, and the seniors they serve, stay connected to the community.