Thomas (Tom) Bilheimer has been a dedicated volunteer with Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley (MOWGLV) for nearly 4 years; however, his journey with Meals on Wheels organizations began quite a while ago. It was in the 1990s and, through a variety of circumstances, Tom found himself caring for his elderly grandmother at his family home in the rural Pocono Mountains. His grandmother was well into her 90’s (she ultimately lived to 106!) and Tom was still actively working, teaching at high school as well as two local colleges. His busy schedule, plus the extended commute time, made his lunch/dinner preparations for his grandmother difficult and many times impossible. It was at this time that he turned to his local Meals on Wheels in Monroe County for help. Meals on Wheels began delivering meals to his grandmother daily, thus relieving him of the added stress of meal preparation for her. Tom was extremely grateful for the critical help MOW provided to both his grandmother and himself. During that time, Tom would often say to himself, “If I ever retire and have time, I would like to volunteer for Meals on Wheels and to give back what was given to me at a difficult time”.
Fast forward twenty-plus years, and to when Tom re-located to the Lehigh Valley. He never forgot his promise to himself to get involved with Meals on Wheels. The opportunity to “give back that time” presented itself in 2019. Along with his friend, Phil Fair, Tom signed up to volunteer for MOWGLV. Since that initial start, Tom and Phil have been a wonderful and dedicated volunteer duo, delivering meals almost daily to clients all over the Lehigh Valley. Tom says, “Giving back has been a very rewarding and fulfilling experience. When I had need, Meals on Wheels was there; now I can be there for others in similar circumstances”.
This past year Tom’s daughter’s mother-in-law, Rose, needed Meals on Wheels. With proper arrangements made, Rose is now a daily meal delivery client. Tom even has the pleasure of delivering to Rose personally when he is assigned to her delivery route. In a way, MOWGLV seems to have become even more of a family affair!
Tom shares, “I’ve found that MOWGLV is an exceptionally well run, well-organized agency. My professional life demanded such organization and I can well appreciate the attention to detail I see daily. Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley far surpasses many other professional institutions with which I have been involved. As a result, it is a pleasure to volunteer and to help balance my scales in gratitude for what was once given to me”.
Thank you, Tom, for all that you do for our MOWGLV clients. The spirit of volunteerism shines within you!