DATE POSTED: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 4:25 PM EDTBy Lea Kahn
Delivering a hot meal to someone who is unable to cook doesn’t take much time, but it makes a difference in that person’s life.
That’s why Gary and Rose Gladwell agreed to volunteer with Lawrence Township Meals on Wheels to deliver a hot meal to a shut-in or convalescent one day a week.
It was actually Ms. Gladwell’s idea to volunteer, but her husband quickly joined her. She said she learned about the Lawrence Township Meals on Wheels program through the bulletin at the Church of St. Ann about eight years ago.
”I was already (volunteering) with Helping Hands, and then I saw this in the church bulletin. (Meals on Wheels) is a couple of hours, once a week. I thought, ‘You can give back that much,’” Ms. Gladwell said.
The couple, who are both 75 years old, also were motivated to volunteer as a means of giving thanks for Mr. Gladwell’s health. He was the recipient of a heart transplant 13 years ago, and this is their way of returning the favor of good health and a second chance at life.
”I’m still here for a reason,” Mr. Gladwell said.
Mr. Gladwell said his father was the type of person who would “give away the shirt on his back” to someone who was in need. Mr. Gladwell said that he and his siblings “all feel the same way,” so volunteering came naturally to him.
”You help when you can. We were raised to help other people,” he said.
Every Friday, the Gladwells drive from their home on Princeton Pike to the ARC Mercer on Ewingville Road in Ewing Township to pick up the meals for their clients. Then, they set out on their route. The number of clients ebbs and flows, and currently they have seven people to whom they deliver a hot meal.
The typical recipient is an elderly person, the Gladwells said. It could be someone who has just been discharged from the hospital and who is not ready to cook or prepare meals, they said. The recipient could be one person, but sometimes they deliver meals to a husband and wife.
Ms. Gladwell drives to the recipient’s house or apartment, and Mr. Gladwell delivers the meal. He does not stay long — just enough time to set the meal down in the kitchen. Then, he is off to the next client’s home.
It usually takes a little less than two hours to complete the route — from the time they set out to pick up the meals to the time that the last one is delivered, Ms. Gladwell said. It is not a large commitment of time, and it’s a good way for a retiree to find something to do, she added.
”I’ll never stop doing it until, of course, we get sick. It’s not hard to do it once a week to help people and feed people,” Ms. Gladwell said.