Randy Scharf has been a Meals on Wheels (MOW) meal courier volunteer for 9 years – he was recently selected as one of the top prize winners of Kal Tire's "Road Heroes" contest. Congratulations Randy, and thank you for your years of service!
Randy has always been quick to lend a helping hand. For many years he would assist the older residents in his own apartment building, running errands for his neighbours when needed. After volunteering for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, he decided to continue with a more regular role. He found out about the MOW opportunity through Volunteer Richmond. Randy said “I had the spare time, and I’ve always felt it’s better to be busy than idle.”
In his role as a courier, Randy transports large batches of meals from the kitchen in Richmond to depots around the city 3 times a week, usually in Vancouver’s downtown Eastside near Oppenheimer Park or Strathcona. Delivery volunteers then pick up the meals to deliver directly to the clients.
Randy grew up in Richmond and knows the city very well. When he was working, some of Randy’s responsibilities involved delivering month-end statements to clients around Vancouver. He’s become even more familiar with the city in his time as a volunteer. When asked if much has changed during his near-decade of volunteering, Randy says “in some places, the traffic has gotten worse. And there are entirely new neighbourhoods and streets in Richmond as the city continues to develop.”
Helping out the community has been a tradition in his family – even though Randy only learned about some of this history very recently. “Hunger and access to food has always been a concern for me,” Randy said. He remembers, even as a child, that the thought of people going hungry made him uneasy. “I was chatting with my Mom and she mentioned that my grandmother was also very concerned about the well-being of her neighbours. She would bring food to those in her community if she was aware that someone was in need.” Randy said he wasn’t surprised to learn this about his grandmother. “I’m glad I can continue a family tradition – even though I didn’t know about it for a long time!”
Randy admits that there are times when he’s less enthusiastic – like when there’s heavy rain or inclement weather – but overall his experience is overwhelmingly positive and rewarding. Now that he is retired, he looks forward to volunteering because it motivates him to get up and feel productive about his day. “When I was working afternoon shifts, I tended to stay up late after work and then sleep in the next morning. It was easy to slip in to a routine where you’re less connected to the community – outside of the people who worked the same schedule.”
Randy has been pleasantly surprised about the community he has experienced, even in Vancouver’s most vulnerable neighbourhoods. “It’s true that there are places where people have many problems, and it can be distressing to see. But we shouldn’t forget that there is a very close-knit community of people living there, like all of us, just trying to get by.”
Speaking of inclement weather - Randy mentioned that his new tires from Kal Tire will help him feel more confident during winter conditions – he joked that “Richmond is already quite flat so you’re usually okay if you leave lots of room between you and the driver ahead during snow.” But thanks to Kal Tire’s Road Heroes contest, Randy will feel even more comfortable on his regular routes throughout the year. Thanks Kal Tire, and thanks again Randy for your years of support! Read more about Randy and the other contest winner volunteers who are making their communities better across the country on their website.