I am a married mother of two adult children, and a lifelong Richmond resident. In 2018, I retired from a 30+ year career with BC Hydro. I was enjoying retirement, but I was also keeping my eyes open for part-time work or volunteer opportunities to keep me out of trouble. There are plenty of jobs out there, but I didn’t want to do just anything – my criteria was that it had to inspire me enough to get out of bed in the morning, and bring me joy. Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I saw a TV news item that volunteers were desperately needed to deliver meals to people unable to get out and I thought, “I have a car and time on my hands – I can do that!” So I reached out immediately, and here I am.
What has surprised you most about volunteering with us?
Mainly, the time commitment. I had thought the routes would have more clients and would take up half my day, but I was wrong on both counts – I have one shift a week and my assigned route is usually 7 clients, so it only takes me about 90 minutes to complete. I told the office I’d be happy to take on more clients, and I’m available as a substitute if needed.
What do you wish people knew about MOW?
I’m sure there are more people out there that are in need of this service. I would encourage anyone who has elderly or physically challenged family members to consider enrolling them into the program – the cost is small, and the benefits are huge! Not only the comfort of knowing that your loved one is getting at least one good meal a day, but that someone is checking in on them. I think there are some days that I am the only other person that the clients see.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering?
DO IT! Before I joined MOW, I had no idea how good helping others is for the soul. The clients are so grateful, it’s very humbling.
What do you do when you aren’t volunteering with MOW?
I often tell my working friends that I do everything I used to do when I was working – the difference is, now I do it when I WANT to, not when I have to! I have also added an exercise component in the form of daily walks, which I never used to have time to do. I could only go a block or two when I started out, but within 6 months, I was up to 6-8 kilometers a day.
Is there a message you would like to share?
Let me offer the words of others, all of whom said it better than I can:
- For it is in giving that we receive - Saint Francis of Assisi
- The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity - Leo Tolstoy
- We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give - Winston Churchill
- Making money is a happiness; making other people happy is a superhappiness - Nobel Peace Prize receipient Muhammad Yunus
- Giving back is as good for you as it is for those you are helping, because giving gives you purpose. When you have a purpose-driven life, you’re a happier person - Goldie Hawn