By Amanda Forget – 22 years old from Cumberland, RI serving as a corps member at Gossler Park Elementary School
“Great Service!” is the break that started and ended our service day on Friday, December 7, 2012. Project Leader Westleigh Morin, led a team of AmeriCorps members in a service project benefiting Meals on Wheels, the oldest and largest national organization dedicated to providing nutrition programs to seniors in all 50 U.S. states who need them each day. It was a bit chilly as we walked the streets of Manchester, but upon arriving at our service site, we could feel the warmth of the hearts of the volunteers and staff there.
Our service for the day was to pack 1,000 storm boxes of food for the elderly. On Monday through Thursday, Meals on Wheels transports hot lunch meals to seniors with limited mobility and on Friday’s, they also provide frozen meals for the weekend. If there is ever a storm or a circumstance that doesn’t allow a delivery to be made, each recipient has a storm box as a back-up. Each box is packed with two meals: chicken soup, ravioli, green beans, dry milk, and an assortment of snacks like crackers, raisins, applesauce, and cookies. By packing 1,000 of these boxes this morning, we essentially fed 2,000 meals to 1,000 elderly recipients for the winter months.
Not only were we presented with a more than fulfilling service project, but we were brought together in great conversation. Life after City Year and genres of music can lead conversation in so many ways. For two hours, we were given the opportunity to engage with our peers to reminisce about past experiences and plan for even more memories. That’s what is so great about service; the opportunities and the learning never end. Each box we opened, each box we filled, each box we packed and labeled will be graciously received by people just like ourselves with stories to share and lives that they cherish. Meals on Wheels also donated a lunch to everyone at City Year that Friday. We enjoyed meatless lasagna, salad, rolls, and chicken fingers. Witnessing the support two organizations have for each other is a beautiful thing.