This is Meals on Wheels. Our crew of staff, volunteers, and clients shares a lot of “different” experiences. There are days when you just don’t know what will come along and shove you into a new reality. Client shows up at the door without pants? Yeah, that’s us. Volunteer gets chased by a tiny dog? Yeah, that’s us, too. What’s the latest? Client gives ceramic gnome to volunteer.

That is SO us. Seriously.

Cindy Simmons followed protocol to the “T.” On her route, one of her “regulars” insisted that she accept a gift of a ceramic gnome. Cindy, as a long term dedicated, knowledgeable, rule-following volunteer, knew that volunteers weren’t to accept gifts from clients. In this instance, accepting it was not only gracious, but it made the client very happy. She checked with Dawn to make sure it was ok. Dawn then flew the request up the flagpole to me because, as you know, all these important and agency-survival type decisions land on my desk. I thought long and hard about this one for about 2 seconds. Yes, Cindy could give the gnome a good home.

In all seriousness, we really did appreciate Cindy’s checking in with us. We have some very good reasons why the “no acceptance of gift” rule is in place. If you’re interested, I can elaborate in another post. While this is a small item, it was appropriate for Cindy to check with Dawn.

The gnome has been named “Mowie” (get it? Her husband didn’t. Ahem). Cindy was very happy to be able to keep Mowie. She says: “I know just where I will put him. I’ll take a photo of him under the rose bush and show it to the client.  I really enjoy seeing the same clients every week – some of them feel like real friends now and the dogs expect a scratch behind the ears (except for Bruno, who still goes ballistic every time I show up.) You may be interested to know that I am a second generation MOW deliverer.  My parents delivered Meals on Wheels in south Chicago, driving in from the western suburbs.  Both were teachers; Dad taught elementary school music and Mom special ed before they retired and became full-time volunteers.  My father, who was a polio survivor, was the driver and my mom – who had rheumatoid arthritis but refused to let it slow her down – was the deliverer.  They continued this into their 80’s, at which point they finally had to give it up.  So, whenever I head out, I think of Mom and Dad making their rounds and I imagine them being so happy to know that I am following in their footsteps.  They were truly amazing people.”

I did not know that Cindy is a second generation MOW volunteer. I think we need to develop a special volunteer category for those folks. Lana and Betty will join her in that group. Anyone else?

There is a lot of conversation these days about voting; specifically, it’s about getting out to vote. A few of you have emailed us and asked what we are doing to help clients vote. We have been working on this. The League of Women Voters of Lehigh County has developed a one-page information sheet to go to clients. I just did a client letter, but will do another one soon including that letter. I am hopeful that the Northampton County chapter will agree to use the same letter for voters in that county. The information from the LWV simply informs clients on where to go to get a mail in ballot, or how to register to vote on line. It is non-partisan. I’m glad that you think about these issues. No one should be disenfranchised because they are homebound.

While Labor Day weekend traditionally signals the end of summer, it feels like summer really didn’t kick off this year. I am just chalking that up to yet another effect of COVID-19. I hope you can all find something safe, relaxing, and enjoyable to do this weekend. Let’s approach the next season with the same attention to detail with regard to safe delivery practices that we have used so far. It’s working.