In October, Isle of Palms recipient Mary celebrated her 95th birthday. She was surrounded by three of her five daughters, along with East Cooper Meals on Wheels volunteer, Pat, and new friend and fellow recipient, Dorothea. You may have read about the bond that Pat and Dorothea formed through Meals on Wheels, but they have now extended it to include other recipients. According to Dorothea, “without the thoughtfulness of Pat doing this, Mary and I never would have met or spoken. Pat truly is a gift from God. She helps in so many ways that go unnoticed. Without her friendship this past year and a half, my life would be so empty.” Pat truly goes above and beyond for recipients and treats them not only as friends but as family.
On that beautiful Saturday in October, Pat picked up Dorothea, with cake and flowers in tow, and headed to Mary’s house. Dorothea and Mary, both recipients, started chatting on the phone with each other some time ago after Pat encouraged their friendship. “In her visits with me here in Mt. Pleasant, she mentioned Mary who is one of her Meals on Wheels recipients, and thought because we, Mary and me, lived alone and I had lived on the island for 25 years, how nice it would be for us to first talk, then meet and become friends,” said Dorothea. It’s important for recipients to create and maintain friendships. Since they may only interact with volunteers on a regular basis, it helps to have other individuals that they can speak to and confide in. This visit on Mary’s birthday was the first time that Dorothea and Mary had the pleasure of meeting each other in person.
These early phone conversations between Mary and Dorothea meant so much to both of them. According to Dorothea, “in some of my conversations with Pat, she learned of my mother’s life in Long Island, NY which is where Mary grew up as well, and other things Mary and I could share. The age difference made no difference to me at all, although Mary is 95, she is the spitting image of someone in their early 80’s. She is fun, mentally brilliant, but does have a few handicaps as anyone that age would.” When Dorothea says that Mary is mentally brilliant, she isn’t just being kind. During their visit, Mary entertained her guests by playing her piano. “Mary played a Broadway tune on her piano, a Gershwin if I recall, and played from memory, I was amazed,” said Dorothea. The visit was filled with friendship and admiration.
Pat’s kindness has created a friendship and brought much needed social interaction to these two amazing recipients. She not only stops to speak with her recipients each time she delivers, but she also makes sure that all other needs are taken care of. Pat must have seen the need for friendship between these two women and she full-filled that need.
According to Dorothea, “I feel honored to know Mary and finally have had the pleasure of meeting her, I wish you could have watched her as she played that tune she remembered so well.”
Our recipients have lived long and meaningful lives, but it’s this time in their lives when they need family and friends most of all. Volunteers like Pat become those friends and family members that some of our recipients so desperately need. It only takes a few extra minutes to stop and have a conversation with our homebound neighbors, but as you can see it means the world to them.