March 2020. The onset of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. While many people were happy to abide by the “stay-at-home” order, there were some who wanted to lend a helping hand throughout the Lehigh Valley. Enter mother and daughter team, Tara and Carly Mehta. Tara, an RN turned stay-at-home mom, and Carly, a high school student had been volunteering at an animal shelter when new volunteer restrictions forced them to retire.
The mother-daughter duo was in search of an opportunity where they could make a difference in the community. It was at this time that they saw there was a need for meal delivery volunteers with Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley. With a flexible, online school schedule for Carly, mother and daughter were able to take on the opportunity to deliver meals together.
To start, Tara and Carly mainly focused on the same routes. They often found themselves on a route delivering meals to a senior high-rise in Bethlehem. Tara recalls that in the early days of the pandemic, the meals were dropped off at the front desk of the building. Once building restrictions eased, the duo was able to deliver to the client’s doors. Tara states, “an instant connection was felt between us and the clients”. A bond formed with two particular clients. These clients looked forward to hearing updates on Carly’s college search and enjoyed looking at pictures of Carly dancing.
Both Tara and Carly felt proud to be able to deliver meals to these vulnerable seniors. They knew that even in times of hardship, MOWGLV would continue to keep the clients safe while providing the necessary services they need. The mother-daughter team state, “Volunteering for MOW is much more than delivering a hot meal. It is much needed human contact to people who may little to no support otherwise. A smile behind the mask, a gentle touch on the shoulder….It is a way to show someone that we care and they are not alone”.
Today, Carly has resumed a full in-person school schedule and Tara resumed working as an RN. The mother-daughter team continues to stay in contact with MOWGLV and look for any opportunity to deliver meals to their favorite clients. Tara and Carly would encourage everyone to find a way to give back to others, big or small. “We also encourage anyone who has a family member or friend who could benefit from a Meals on Wheels delivery to sign them up. The resources are available and a small delivery could make a big impact on both the volunteer and recipient”.