Three Reasons to Become a Friendly Visitor with Meals on Wheels

ACMB is honored to partner with Meals on Wheels San Antonio. This is a sponsored post. 

 

Even in the friendly city of San Antonio, there are isolated individuals throughout the area who yearn for connection and community. Meals on Wheels San Antonio is actively looking for volunteers for its Friendly Visitor program. This program is vital to the emotional and relational well-being of some of our homebound elder population.  

Here are the three great reasons to volunteer with Meals on Wheels’ Friendly Visitor program:

1. Invest in your community.

The Meals on Wheels San Antonio Friendly Visitor Program is a volunteer-based program aiming to provide companionship and meaningful friendship to homebound citizens in Bexar County. Seniors who cannot leave their homes can quickly start to feel isolated and depressed and, sadly, this can worsen existing health conditions. The Friendly Visitor volunteers can be crucial to the mental and physical well-being of such  seniors. According to Meals on Wheels America and AARP, both social isolation and loneliness have emerged as major public health issues. They are worse on health than obesity, and the health risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. One in three U.S. adults are lonely, and connecting with neighbors can improve both health and build community ties.

Volunteers spend around 1.5 hours a week with a Meals on Wheels client playing games, taking a walk, or chatting over coffee or tea. Those who have a heart for helping others provide much-needed and much-appreciated connection and companionship with the often isolated seniors. Friendly Visitors are matched with a homebound senior based on personality/interests, location, and scheduling needs.

Friendly Visitor volunteers who miss their parents and grandparents find treasured connection with their Meals on Wheels clients. It often becomes a beautifully symbiotic relationship.

2. Involve your kids.

Parent volunteers are welcome to bring along a child who is interested in volunteering. The Meals on Wheels San Antonio staff works closely with volunteers to find the best fit for all.  

Volunteering as a family is a compelling way to teach our kids about community responsibility and the importance of human connection. The impact on both the children and the recipient can be tremendous. It can be especially meaningful for San Antonio families that may not have local grandparents or local family. Giving our children the chance to relate warmly and positively to senior citizens can be a wonderful way to broaden their horizons and social skills.

The Friendly Visitor program commitment can be flexible, which is ideal for those looking for an evening or weekend opportunity. It’s also ideal for a summer break family activity.  

Meals on Wheels

3. Expand your perspective.

The opportunity to build relationships with seniors is an honor. Visiting people from different backgrounds, different walks of life, and different ages can bring an acute perspective adjustment. In our fast-paced, mostly digital world, moments of literal face-to-face connection and time spent having actual conversations can be restorative to both the senior and the volunteer. It can be a welcome time to slow down, listen, serve, and reconnect with our shared humanity.  

Read what current Meals on Wheels clients have to say about their Friendly Visitors:

  • “I really look forward to her visits.”
  • “The day goes by so much faster when she visits. We laugh and talk.”
  • “Our visits uplift me. I feel inspired to stay independent.”
  • “I love her. Having her really helps, especially since losing my son. I was so lonely, but she’s helped me.”

Want to learn more? Click here: Meals on Wheels San Antonio Friendly Visitor Program.

Michelle moved to San Antonio eight years ago and yet still feels like a newcomer. She is rather smitten with the Alamo City. She and her husband met at Texas A&M and started their marriage in Minnesota. After six years of very cold winters, they returned to Texas. Michelle has two kids (12 and 9), along with a very quirky rescue dog and two rather cute guinea pigs. A former corporate food scientist turned part-time yoga instructor, she still takes her food very seriously—she just doesn’t get paid for it anymore. She is fueled by tea, cold brew coffee, yoga, dog walking, books and quickly googling answers to her kids eleventy million questions.