Hello Blog Readers! My name is Bradley Gulley, and I am the Volunteer Coordinator for Volunteers of America’s Meals on Wheels Program. I have worked for the Meals on Wheels program for two and a half years, and it is my dream job. Meals on Wheels is an exceptional program that provides an average of over 2,500 meals daily. The meals are delivered to the homes of seniors who are homebound. All the meals are designed by a registered dilatation. Meals on Wheels also provides three different meal options for seniors in order to best meet their needs.
Meals on Wheels uses over 1,000 volunteers to deliver meals Monday through Saturday. The volunteers do more than drop off food; They visit with the clients and make sure they are doing well. For some clients the Meals on Wheels volunteers are the only visitors they see during the day. Volunteers work with Meals on Wheels staff to report concerns that they have about the clients so that our staff can provide the clients with the resources they need. Volunteers are the heart of Meals on Wheels and the program wouldn’t exist without the generous volunteers.
The holiday season at Meals on Wheels is an exciting time. We do special holiday deliveries on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. All of our Denver clients receive a hot holiday meal. The meals are dished, packed, and delivered by over 100 cheerful volunteers. I love to see the cars start to line up to pick up their meals for their routes and start delivering. We have many volunteers who have made this their tradition and look forward to doing it every year. Along with receiving the meal on Christmas, every client gets a special Christmas gift as well. Many of these clients are alone on Christmas, and these gifts show that we are thinking about them.
The Holidays are an amazing time that really highlights people’s generosity. We always have a waitlist of volunteers because so many people want to help. We will even have volunteers calling on the day of the holiday making sure we have enough help. It is a great problem to have when we have to say we are full.
The reason I love working for Volunteers of America, especially during the holidays, is that I get to work with incredibly giving people. Corporate groups that take time during their busy schedules to volunteer; Families come from out of town and seek us out to volunteer; Kids give up their “Christmas Morning” to help deliver presents to seniors; Even volunteers who deliver meals every week on a regular schedule and could take the holidays off want to see their seniors so they volunteer to do extra. I am inspired by all these people who sacrifice (time, money, and tradition) in order to help others. What an amazing blessing it is to get to work with these volunteers every day.
One of my favorite holiday stories is about a volunteer who has been delivering for many years. He is also a Boy Scout Troop Leader so one year he had his troop go caroling at all his Meals on Wheels clients’ houses. I had one lady call and tell me about every single song they sung and how wonderful it was. They even brought cookies and hot chocolate to each house. There are many stories like this that warm your heart and make all the work worthwhile.
Volunteer Coordinator, Meals on Wheels
Volunteers of America Colorado Branch