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 Peggy Kerl.
When Peggy Kerl began volunteering at Meals on Wheels People, her time was largely spent delivering meals. Now, as a seasoned volunteer of eight and a half years, Peggy also helps by packing meals, making Wellness Checks, and even training new volunteers by guiding them through routes and common situations that can come up on-the-go.
“I am passionate about giving back to our community and I believe that the world would be a better place if we all gave our time and energy to help support those less fortunate,” said Peggy. “I decided I was healthy and mobile enough to help, and I’m grateful for that decision because I have made so many friends and connections along the way.”
After retirement, Peggy knew that she wanted to spend her newfound time volunteering to support an important cause. She was drawn to supporting homebound older adults because she knew that the need in the community was much greater than what meets the eye.
“We all know there are unmet needs in our communities, but the needs that aren’t right in front of us can often fall through the cracks,” explained Peggy. “The people served by Meals on Wheels People tend to be homebound and some live in quieter parts of the city without sidewalks and paved roads. I fear that this unmet need is ‘out of sight, out of mind’ for many, no matter how good their intentions, so I decided to spend my time there.”
Throughout almost a decade of volunteering, Peggy has developed many special memories with the older adults served by Meals on Wheels People. She has walked through their gardens, looked through family photo albums with them, and shared many meaningful chats with meal recipients—whether outside of their homes or on the phone.
“Everyone has a unique story to share and I enjoy them all, but one moment in particular, stands out to me,” began Peggy. “While making Wellness Check phone calls, I spoke to a woman who hadn’t received her meals because she was unable to get to the door before the driver left. Usually we know who needs additional time for mobility reasons, but she was a new recipient. I decided to bring her the meals after my volunteer shift ended. She answered the door with tears in her eyes and couldn’t thank me enough. What was only a three mile detour on my way home had meant the world to her.”
Rewarding moments like that have made Peggy’s volunteer experience one she cherishes. She loves the opportunity to dig deep and recognize common humanity with those she serves through volunteerism.
“There are so many ways to give back to our community through Meals on Wheels People,” said Peggy. “You can deliver and pack meals, make Wellness Check calls, or volunteer with the Friendly Chats program. There is something for everyone, and volunteers benefit from these special moments more than I can put into words.”
To learn more about our available volunteer opportunities, visit mowp.org/volunteer.