Jul 06, 2021

I Remember

volunteering word-art

Some memories from over the years, of congregational members that I have served with in the community.

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’  Matthew 25:40 ESV

When we joined Babcock Presbyterian Church many years ago, I became an active member of the Women’s Association.  In those days, most of the women were stay-at-home moms.   We had monthly Bible studies in small groups called “circles” and all the “circles” joined in a monthly activity on one Tuesday afternoon per month.  As a young mom, I looked forward to meeting with these lovely women to have adult conversation and take a break from my young children.  We had a variety of activities with different Christian speakers or crafts or mission-oriented presentations. 

One such presentation was given by our missions’ chairman, Myrtle Sheehan, a sweet soft-spoken lady whom I admired greatly.  She invited a speaker from Meals-on-Wheels.  I had never heard of Meals-on-Wheels.  She explained that this organization served meals to people who cannot cook for themselves any more.  They served a hot meal plus some snacks 5 days a week.  She encouraged us to volunteer to deliver those meals in the city of Baltimore.  She asked for 10 persons, two per week, to volunteer on Thursdays.  The plan was to go to the Meals-on-Wheels kitchen at Faith Presbyterian church around 10:30 am to pick up 10-12 meals and then drive around a particular neighborhood in the city.  The kitchen at Faith Presbyterian served five neighborhoods.   Our church volunteers were to serve the same neighborhood every Thursday.   The whole pick-up and delivery process took 2 hours. 

My son Philip was 1 year old, my daughter Christine was in kindergarten, so I figured my mother-in-law could take Philip for those two hours and I’d go deliver meals to those who needed it.  My friend Margie Manear also had a one-year-old son and a mother who could babysit.  Great!  We added our names on the list and we were assigned ”Route 5” on the third Thursday. 

On our first day, we met Jackie, a small-built African American lady who was so sweet and so grateful for the volunteers.  She knew everything there is to know about the process and about all the people to whom we were to deliver the meals.  She knew the streets and the best way to go around them to deliver the meals.  (Those were the days before GPS).   She often had funny anecdotes about the whole process.  She was in charge of cooking the food to be delivered and all the workers loved and respected her.  We became friends.

And so, we started.  One month I drove my car and Margy delivered the meals and the following month, Margy drove and I delivered.  I mostly enjoyed delivering because I liked to chat with the customers.  Some waited for us at the door at 11:00, took the food, said thank you, and closed the door.  Others invited us in to put the food on the kitchen table or in the refrigerator.  Some homes were nice and neat, others were a disaster. We still had to deliver with a big smile. 

As the years passed, the route changed many times and dear Jackie would advise us how to drive around because of the many one-way streets.  There were days when I put Philip in his car seat next to the coolers and I drove while my partner delivered.    When Margy moved to another city, I had to find a new partner. 

I appealed to the church on Sunday mornings to encourage men and women to come along to help out.  One retired lawyer, Mr. Cy Murphy, volunteered. He drove and I delivered.  He introduced me to the classical music radio station in Baltimore which was always on while we drove around.   Mr Mason, Patty and Beverly’s dad volunteered as well.  Mildred Stagge, whom I greatly admired, volunteered to help out later on.  She and I had a great time together.  She knew the names of all the flowers and trees and she taught them to me.  In Egypt, all trees are called trees, and all flowers are called flowers.   At one point, Christine came to help me.  She loved it. Philip, who was a baby when we started, came along one day and drove and I delivered.  When I started teaching, I came back to see Jackie and helped drive or deliver on my days off.  You can tell that I really loved Meals-on-wheels.  Sharon Mariani who had signed up with me way back when recently retired after 35 years of delivering meals on Route 5 in the city.  

The entire organization has changed over the years but the concept is till the same, reaching out to those lonely souls who can no longer cook for themselves.

34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:34-40 ESV

Magda magdamagdaw@gmail.com

NOTE: See also our LRPC Outreach Community Services