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Doing Good Together Newsletter )
Helping strengthen kids and communities through family volunteerism... October 2007
in this issue
  • Providing Meals to People in Need
  • Touching on the Subjects of Food, the Elderly and Being Alone
  • Did You Know?
  • One Family's Story
  • News From DGT

  • My first venture into family volunteering occurred when my two oldest children were preschoolers - one age 3 and the other 6 months old. My friend, who also had a 3-year-old, and I decided that twice each month we'd pile our kids (with snacks, pacifiers and toys) into the car and deliver meals to the homebound. The success of that venture - the valuable lessons it taught my children and the joy I saw my kids bring to others - propelled our family into undertaking a whole series of family volunteer adventures. Maybe the same will happen for you. Below you'll see how easy it is to become a Meals on Wheels volunteer with your kids.



    Jenny Friedman, Executive Director

    Providing Meals to People in Need
    Meals On Wheels Association of America

    Make a Difference... If you have preschoolers (or homeschooled children), delivering meals may be the perfect opportunity for your family to serve others. It takes only about an hour (usually 11 am to noon) and you can volunteer as little as once per month or as often as once a week. Though the job is simple, it's about more than handing over a meal. As Meals on Wheels volunteers, your family provides smiles, a few minutes of conversation, and a safety check on homebound individuals. It's the only help some individuals require to continue to live independently. Visit the Meals On Wheels Association of America to find the program in your area. .

    Touching on the Subjects of Food, the Elderly and Being Alone
    Barbara Cooney’s <i>Miss Rumphius</i>

    Talk About It ... Volunteering with your children for Meals On Wheels can open up conversations on everything from intergenerational friendships, to healthy foods and how to comfort the lonely. Plus, driving together with your children can be the ideal time for quiet discussions. Here are some ideas to jump-start your dialogue:

  • Most programs package wholesome meals, including items from a variety of food groups. Talk to your kids about what comprises a nutritious meal and how important it is for good health at any age.
  • Talk about how it might feel to be alone all day, and how valuable companionship is to all of us.
  • Perhaps your child can create handmade cards, bookmarks, refrigerator magnets or other "extras" to deliver with the meals. Talk about the pleasure of both giving and receiving a gift.
  • Learn About It ... Read Barbara Cooney's Miss Rumphius with your children, no matter what their ages. It's a beautiful and inspiring story about growing old gracefully and the importance of bringing beauty into the world.

    Did You Know?

  • On average one mile is driven per meal served by Meals On Wheel---that means volunteers drive one million miles a day on behalf of the organization.
  • Four out of every 10 local Meals On Wheels programs have waiting lists for services.
  • Today more than three quarters of a million Americans over 65 live alone and suffer from food insecurity.
  • Every 7 seconds another Baby Boomer in America turns 60 years old, which means the need for meals will only increase.
  • While the number of frail elderly needing Meals On Wheels is steadily increasing, public funding for these programs is declining.
  • Statistics from Meals On Wheels Association of America

    One Family's Story
    Pamela Deeringher daughters,  Rachel and Maggie

    Like the rest of us, Pamela Deering knows how easy it is to get absorbed in daily routines. So when she made the decision to stay at home full-time after the birth of her daughter, Rachel, she wanted to be intentional about carving out some time each week to give back to the community-mindful that her volunteer job needed to include her baby. Delivering meals to the homebound through a program in south Minneapolis called TRUST (Toward Renewed Unity in Service Together) turned out to be the ideal opportunity for a mother-daughter duo.

    "It was wonderful experience from the beginning," Deering says. She admits to being a bit wary upon realizing that she would be taking her baby in and out of the car seat 8 or 10 times during their hour-long route. But the inconvenience paled in comparison to the benefits. The seniors were absolutely delighted to see her daughter. Even now, eight years later, they often save trinkets from cereal boxes, cut out pictures from greeting cards or find other treasures to share.

    Photo: Pamela Deering and her daughters, Rachel and Maggie

    Read Full Story

    News From DGT

    For those in the Twin Cities, save the date, November 16, 2007, 7:00-9:00 pm, for the second annual Doing Good Together fundraiser. Your invitation should be arriving soon. If you're not on our snail mail list and want to attend, or simply want further information, e-mail us at jenny@doinggoodtogether.org.

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