Delivering Food and Friendships
Gracie looks forward to Sam arriving at her doorstep every Wednesday at 11:30 am. Her anticipation is due not only to the hot meal Sam is delivering as part of his volunteer work for God’s Kitchen but the fact that they have built a relationship over the past 48 months.
Interactions like these help to build relationships all over Kent County through MOKA’s partnership with Meals on Wheels and God’s Kitchen. Karrie Brown, Program Supervisor shared that the goal of the program “...is to help people receiving meals remain independent, continue to live in their own home and know that there’s support coming.” Karrie continues, “Another big impact of the program is reducing loneliness by having someone knock on your door every day and say hi to you—now you have daily interaction. It’s brief but it’s important.”
Over the past four years, groups of MOKA volunteers have been donating their time every week and last year delivered more than 3,500 meals to families.
One of the major advantages for the individual MOKA volunteers is seeing the direct impact of their efforts. According to Karrie, “At some of our other volunteer sites we do things behind the scenes where we prepare lunches or materials that benefit people but we don’t get to see who it goes out to. At God’s Kitchen volunteers are personally handing a meal to someone so you get that connection with them. Each volunteer has an assigned home. Like, this is the house I get out at and they have that regular face to face interaction, delivering the meal to the same person each time. They get to see they are making a contribution in a person’s life. It’s meaningful.”
In a paradoxical way, this outreach by volunteers at MOKA to help those in need in the community is at the same time helping achieve the personal aspirations and goals of the volunteers themselves—to build relationships, to contribute back to the community and grow in leadership skills.