Get to Know a Volunteer: Richard
Richard has been a Meals on Wheels volunteer driver since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. He delivers frozen meals to older adults in the Toronto area.
What inspired you to begin volunteering for Circle of Care?
My friend encouraged me to start volunteering after I retired, so I started in my Meals on Wheels volunteer position in 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, and it was the best decision ever!
Has volunteering changed your outlook in any way?
Meeting Holocaust survivors and their spouses really opened my eyes to the tremendous need in our Jewish community. So many of the Holocaust survivors have Personal Support Workers who help take care of them, and most of the survivors are widowed women who have lost their life-long husbands. I know that having meals delivered weekly or bi-weekly is a highlight of their week for them.
For four mornings a week, I get this tremendous feeling of worthiness when I give clients not only their meals, but a smile and a laugh, and the feeling that they are not alone.
What’s one positive impactful moment at Circle of Care?
At first, many clients were hesitant to open their doors fully due to the fact that I was a stranger and because of COVID-19. But today, many of them invite me in for a coffee or to look at their family photos, and I get to hear their wonderful life stories. I also get to wish them a Good Shabbos, Chag Sameach, or L’Shana Tova. Their stories will stay with me for a very long time, and I am so grateful to hear them all! I probably get more out of these short conversations with clients than they do.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who’s thinking of volunteering?
For those who have not experience the Mitzvah of volunteering to give back, I encourage you to do so. For me it was long overdue. Volunteering gives your life more meaning by focusing on the needs of others. Enjoy the gift of giving!