Meet Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley (MOWGLV) volunteer and PA State Trooper, Ryan Seiple. Officer Seiple works out of the Pennsylvania State Police’s Office of Community Engagement as one of their Community Affairs Officers. This new program — less than a year old — was developed to bridge the gap of trust between the community and police officers within underserved communities across the Commonwealth. The role of a Community Affairs Officer is to proactively engage the community through volunteerism with non-profit organizations and to bring positivity to the citizens of the community.
Officer Seiple serves three local counties; Northampton, Lehigh, and Carbon. He is passionate about his involvement in his community and was excited to partake in this new program. His goal is to have individuals see him and other police officers as one of the community. He would like for people to see him as a person of trust — a person who is there to serve and help others.
Officer Seiple came to be a volunteer for MOWGLV after receiving a recommendation. Admittedly, he did not know much about MOWGLV, except that he would be providing food to seniors in need; he decided to give it a try. Officer Seiple was surprised by all that MOWGLV has to offer to the clients. He had no idea about all of the different meal options and additional programs, like Ani-Meals, in which clients can participate.
What also surprised Officer Seiple was the connection between the MOWGLV volunteers and the clients. He notes, “They volunteer together, act as a family. They help each other load meals into their cars and joke and have fun together. The volunteers are also such big advocates for the clients.”
Officer Seiple learned first-hand how easy it can be to form special bonds with MOWGLV clients. One day while he was delivering meals in his uniform, an Easton client stopped him. The client told him that he was a retired Newark Police Officer and they spent a few minutes chatting together about their shared experiences.
Officer Seiple has found much fulfillment in his new role as a Community Affairs Officer. “I am getting to know my community and the people who live in it in a new way.” He hopes that the clients that he serves will see law enforcement in a new and positive way as well.