Volunteers are at the heart of all we do at Meals on Wheels People. In honor of National Volunteer Week, we’re highlighting several volunteers who make a significant impact in the lives of our older neighbors. Today we’d like to introduce you to Efrain Lopez.
Efrain Lopez’ mother, Theresa, always had a passion for community service and a heart for giving back to those in need. Theresa was a dedicated Meals on Wheels driver in Lubbock, Texas, for 30 years—and even received an award for her dedication to the cause. Efrain had always wanted to engage more deeply with his community, and following his mother’s passing in April 2020, he decided to continue her legacy and began volunteering as a delivery driver with Meals on Wheels People.
“Losing my mother was very difficult,” explained Efrain. “Knowing that I could carry on her legacy of making a positive social impact was important to me. My 18-year-old sons also continue her legacy through volunteering with Meals on Wheels People—they join me on deliveries, help fundraise, and support Toys for Tots deliveries during the holidays”
When it comes to supporting Meals on Wheels People, Efrain does it all. You can typically find him packing meals at the Cherry Blossom Center, though he also delivers meals across a number of locations and volunteers in the kitchen as needed. Most recently, he and his family rallied their friends to support their fundraising efforts for Stride for Seniors. Fundraising for the event has become an annual tradition for them, much like delivering toys during the holidays.
“Toys for Tots deliveries are always extremely rewarding,” said Efrain. “Sometimes the children are the ones to answer the door—and when they hear the word ‘toys’ they light up. It is emotional for all involved, and it is important to me that my sons experience and witness the amazing power of giving back. I try to be a role model for them by giving back together, and they really love being involved.”
Now that he is retired, Efrain finds a great sense of purpose and motivation in his volunteer efforts. Whether he’s tearing down cardboard boxes or rallying his friends to join him on meal deliveries, it’s rewarding to know that he’s making a difference for those in need while also supporting the organization’s staff.
“If I’m scheduled to volunteer, I always know it’ll be a good day,” said Efrain. “The people make the experience so rewarding, and I’ve made so many connections and friendships. It can certainly be saddening to visit people in need, but it’s important. We might be the only people that they see or hear from that week.”
Volunteerism makes an impact directly on the people you help, but it also makes a lasting impact on you, your family, and your friends.
“We’re all here to take care of one another,” said Efrain. “Building community service into your personal values not only impacts those you serve directly, but it also trickles down and impacts the way your friends and family think about the world. Just look at my mom, for example. She gave 30 years of her life to Meals on Wheels and now my teenage sons are following in her footsteps.”
To learn more about our available volunteer opportunities, visit mowp.org/volunteer.