Research shows that intergenerational interaction benefits everyone involved. One does not need to review the literature or examine the spreadsheets to see this. One only needs to watch the smiles that brighten the faces of Senior Services program participants when they accept a hot meal from a child volunteering for Meals-on-Wheels.
Senior Services is grateful for every volunteer, donor, and supporter of its mission. There is something extra special about witnessing children, as young as three, learning the importance of service to others and providing support to fellow community members in need of a hand. For example, three-year-old Cooper and five-year-old Kyngston have a way of melting the hearts of fellow Meals-on-Wheels volunteers each time they show up to deliver a route.
Cooper’s dad, Jay Callahan, is a pretty well-known figure in the community and around the Meals-on-Wheels pickup room. He’s been delivering meals in his “Man Van” for years. When Cooper grew old enough to drive his own “mini-Man Van” Jay knew it was time to introduce him to the idea of service to others, and what better way to do that than as a Meals-on-Wheels volunteer. Once a month, Jay loads Cooper’s van into the back of his SUV and the father-son team set out to deliver meals to older adults who have difficulty leaving home and preparing meals for themselves.
Bertha, a Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools teacher, is no stranger to Meals-on-Wheels either. She volunteers for Meals-on-Wheels whenever classes are not in session and practically every day during the summer break. She rarely shows up alone, however. Bertha is often seen loading meals for delivery with one or more of her family members including four-year-old Kyngston, her great, great, great grandson. “Kyngston loves it,” she says. His smile confirms that.
Cooper and Kyngston are all the proof needed to know that you’re never too young to do something good for others, and Senior Services staff will tell you that you’re never too old either. You can make life a little more meaningful for seniors in need of support while experiencing the joy that volunteering brings. Find out how you and your children, grandchildren, school groups, scouting troops, and any group in between can become Senior Services volunteers by visiting seniorservicesinc.org or by contacting Tyler Smith, volunteer and community relations coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-721-6961.