Thursday, July 14, 2011

Project 2011: Buy Less, Give More - Meals On Wheels Adventures

 Seven months in and I'm still working on Project 2011 Buy Less, Give More even though I haven't really shared much about it here in the past couple of months.  The monthly spending recaps started to make me feel very exposed and very uncomfortable, just like I was afraid they would.  It turns out that what made me the most uneasy was putting my spending out there for real life friends and family to see.  My parents, my in laws and my closest friends read this blog, and it came up a few times with several of them about spending money on this or that.  It just started to feel a little too strange for me and my husband, so while I continue to work hard at limiting my spending, I just don't share the nitty gritty of the dollars spent here.  Does that matter to any of you out of curiosity? 

The Give More portion of the project is still in full swing as well.  For two months now we have been delivering meals every Tuesday for Meals On Wheels, an organization that can be found pretty much all over the country.  Syd's been with me since day 1 and knows the route as well as I do now, anticipating which houses we'll drive to next and asking when we get to see Eddie who waits on his porch for us each week and comes to the car to greet Syd.  Taylor's been with us for the last 3 weeks now since she's been on vacation and has just started to get the idea of what we do.  She enjoys putting the milk and juice in the lunch bags.

Carmen is the "visitor" who walks the meals up to each house, and is 82 years old, older than many of the folks we deliver meals to in fact.  She sits in the passenger seat while I drive us from house to house and we chat about her grand kids, our summer adventures so far, and I now have her hooked on the Trader Joe's veggie straws.  She's been doing this route for a while now, and in the beginning she made sure I checked our route book at each stop so that I knew where we were going.  She finally trusts me now though and knows I won't get us lost ;) 
 The kids have the sense that we are giving of our time, but not really sure how much of that they grasp.  The first couple of weeks Syd complained about having to go and asked over and over when we'd be done so we could go home.  He doesn't complain at all anymore though, it's become just part of our regular routine.  The butterscotch's may have helped too, a staple in the Meals On Wheels office :)  Even though they may not "get it" now, my hope is that down the road they'll remember us giving of ourselves and connect the dots.

While I know our little contribution here is worthwhile and important, I can't help feeling that it still isn't enough. It still feels all too safe and sheltered.  When we started the route almost 8 weeks ago, we had 11 stops, now we are down to 7 due to hospital stays and even one death.  Our route book lists the ailments of each client and a big pink note labeled "HOSPITAL HOLD" sticks to each stop we're supposed to skip.  You never get the details of what's going on and you don't know how long they'll be gone.  That part is hard, but really as the driver, I still feel very detached.  I see their faces for a brief moment when they open the door and accept a meal, so overall I'm very disconnected and protected.

I'm not saying I need something dangerous or heart wrenching to feel relevant.  And really it isn't about what I need at all.  It's just that I think God has more in store for me and the kids, and how we can help, somewhere down the road.  I love and value this experience right now, but I pray it's just the beginning for us.     
*If you'd like to learn more about Meals On Wheels and the services they provide, or to find a local chapter to volunteer at, please visit the National website here 


  1. What an awesome experience for your kids. Setting the example of service when they are young is amazing. I have so much admiration for what your family is doing.

  2. How wonderful that you help with Meals on Wheels. Such an important organization to so many people. I think it is so important to get your children involved & Im sure they will remember when they get older and want to help others on their own. You have definitely inspired me! Thanks for sharing & for helping!

  3. as the child of parents who, like you, tried to instill in their children the desire to make a difference, please know: your kids will look back on this as a big deal. they may not "get it" now, but i promise you, they'll get it later. i'm so grateful for moms like you (and moms like my own) who get out in the community and serve, right along with their children. i know it feels so small, but what you're doing is HUGE. (and as an aside, have you ever considered serving at a homeless shelter, all four of you together? you might have to wait for a couple of years for your youngest, but i remember my parents taking us, and it made a huge impact. even just driving around your downtown area passing out cold bottles of water to those who need it would be such a blessing. just my ideas, friend. i love your heart.)

  4. annie's right-even if not now as much, later they WILL get it and it will be awesome!

    totally get you about the sharing spending details on here. do what you think is best-if it were me, the fewer details family knows, the better:)


  5. What a great experience to share with your children! I emailed MOW about a year ago and never got any response. Any advice?

    I can imagine it'd be hard to see "hospital hold" and not know any further details. :( How sweet though to befriend an 82 yr old woman who is out to help in the community just as you are!!

  6. Oh man I would love to do something like that. I'm not aware of any projects like that around where I live.

  7. Great job, mummy! Even if they do not understand it now, your kids will understand and appreciate this later and they will be better adults for it because they would have grown up understanding the importance of helping those less fortunate. Your blog is pretty great. Now following.

  8. I had no idea there would be a driver PLUS a person to walk from car to door. It seems more formal than when I did it in San Diego 20 years ago ... maybe the organization is bigger up here or they've just evolved over the years. Whatever the case, I still think it's great that you're involved and it's something the kids can do too. Sometime this school year I plan to get involved too.


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