Bill and Merilyn have been delivering a route for MOWWM for just over a year and a half now, but their history with Meals on Wheels goes back a lot further than that. While they lived in South Carolina, Bill and Merilyn delivered meals for the local Meals on Wheels program for about 8 and half years! And when they moved to Michigan about a year and a half ago to be closer to their grandchildren, staying involved with Meals on Wheels was without question.
The couple were both born and raised in Long Island, NY, and met in college. They married and raised their two sons in Long Island, but eventually moved to Massachusetts and later South Carolina for job opportunities. Before retiring, Bill was in the manufacturing field, working with engineering and packaging, and Merilyn was a High School teacher and later a recruiter and trainer for insurance companies. After retiring, the couple moved to Michigan to be closer to their grandkids-they have 12 total, and they have stayed very busy. Along with Meals on Wheels, they volunteer at Degage Ministries, with Pauls’ Moms’ Cookies, Frederik Meijer Gardens and with the Walker Township library. They like to keep busy, Bill’s motto being, “Keep all mornings occupied,” and volunteering gives them the opportunity to give back. “We’ve been blessed, so it’s the least we can do,” the couple says.
Bill and Merilyn had many years of experience delivering meals in South Carolina, but the programs do vary in several ways. The couple described the program in South Carolina as a much smaller operation, as they serve meals there on an income based system and the meals came hot, so meals were served every day to the clients. Interestingly enough, they served the same amount of people on their route in South Carolina as they do here in Wyoming- but their current route is lot more spread out. They enjoy delivering meals for MOWWM because it is a more formal process with a much bigger population served.
Delivering meals is also a volunteer opportunity that they get to enjoy doing together, Merilyn drives and Bill delivers the meals to the door. They also said that their favorite thing about delivering meals is the relationships that are built with the clients, “the seniors are happy and appreciate what we’re doing. And it fits a need, you’re doing this for them.” Bill and Merilyn have also had a few experiences where they were that safety check for clients who had fallen and have been the ones to help out in tough situations. The connection they’ve built with their clients is so strong, that Bill says, “when we pull up to a house, I can tell you the whole nine yards- who owns what car and which dogs bark and which ones don’t.”
We are so thankful for Bill and Merilyn’s commitment to our program and so grateful to have them as a part of our team. We appreciate them, and others like them who give so generously of their time to reach homebound seniors in our community. Thank you, Bill and Merilyn!