This week we are pleased to again feature an article by a guest blogger. Jayne McQueen is the President, CEO and Founder of Mobile Meal Service of Spartanburg County, Inc. in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
While most of our focus in this space in the past has been on congregate nutrition programs, we cannot and should not neglect the important role that home delivered meal programs play in providing nutritious meals for homebound seniors. These programs, like congregate ones, are diverse. Some are run out of congregate sites, some are freestanding and managed by public entities receiving federal financial support; others, like Mobile Meal Service, are faith-based and rely on private funding and the dedication of volunteers to carry out their mission.
“If, as I go home, someone has dropped a halfpenny, and if, by giving it to another, I can wipe away its tears, I feel I have done something. I should be glad to do greater things; but I will not neglect this.” John Newton – began as an English sailor, Anglican pastor and hymn writer of the famous hymn Amazing Grace.
Wish I had said it but it certainly has been the desire of my heart:
- To wipe away the tears of Lucy who desperately wanted to stay in her own home and not leave all the memories of Tom.
- To share the memories with Harry as he sat in a rocking chair on his porch and looked out over the fields he had farmed for many years but now barely able to walk.
- To look forward to a hug from Betty, 91 and alone and fingers so crippled she can’t even open a can.
- To know we are making a difference to Harriet who can no longer stand up straight and yet spends each day and night taking care of her bedbound husband- “the love of her life.”
When I started Mobile Meals almost 43 years ago, I could, sort of, imagine that there were neighbors who were probably hungry, but I had no idea of the devastation of loneliness, isolation, and even neglect and abuse.
But what are we to do? “Blessed is he who considers the poor,” wrote David in Psalm 41:1. Even if we can’t alleviate the poverty of those we meet along the way we can consider them – a verb that means “to pay attention.” We can let people know we care. We can treat them with respect and listen to their stories. We can take them a meal maybe even pray for them.
My memories bring me to tears when I remember so many wonderful volunteer stories. Volunteers who themselves were sacrificing to help others. Who could barely afford the gas they used. And others who never complained no matter how rainy the day or how hot or how cold. They remembered the old paradox the Lord gave us when He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Volunteers share so often – “I went out to take meals so I could help someone, but I went home knowing that truly I was the one who was blessed.”
Now with my many memories and my make up smeared from tears, I’ll close with my plea – thank you for those who have helped in the past and please know we still need you today and many tomorrows. Your gift truly puts –God’s Love in Action (logo for Mobile Meal Service of Spartanburg County, Inc.)
Only a life given away for love’s sake is worth living.