“Often, we’re the only ones people see each week. Sometimes you get very close to a few individuals. They get to know our names and even the names of our family, and we get to know them.”
Those are the words of Theresa Gannon who along with her husband Paul are volunteer drivers for Homebound Meals of Fort Wayne. Paul and Theresa Gannon were recently featured in the Today’s Catholic publication August 13, 2017 print edition and online at TodaysCatholic.Org in a story written by Vince LaBarbera, also of Fort Wayne.
Here’s more of their story from Today’s Catholic:
“When I got ready to retire from Parkview IT six years ago, I thought about what I might want to do to avoid becoming a couch potato,” said Paul. After seeing an HBM ad in the newspaper, he called and eventually rode along on a route with another driver to see if he would like it.
He did enjoy it, so he drove the route by himself for about six months before asking his wife, Theresa, if she would like to accompany him.
Usually, he drives and she takes the meals to each client. The Gannons currently make their deliveries before noon to about 12 individuals — driving nearly 20 miles — and usually briefly visit with each person as well. “Often, we’re the only ones people see each week. Sometimes you get very close to a few individuals,” said Theresa. “They get to know our names and even the names of our family, and we get to know them.” The couple has switched roles on occasion, once when Paul broke his wrist and couldn’t drive. He still goes by himself occasionally, when they’re babysitting a grandchild.
Exactly what is the routine for volunteer drivers like Paul and Theresa?
The Gannons explained that drivers pick up two coolers: one with hot food and one with cold. A clipboard is provided, giving directions to clients’ homes. There are no more than 12 clients on each route. Currently, the Gannons are visiting seven residences. The time required to run a route rarely is more than an hour and a half, they said. “If you use the coolers, they have to be returned to the pickup location,” said Paul, “so we use our own.” Volunteers drive their own vehicle, usually just once a week.
If someone is not home, the resident places a cooler near the door to contain the meal. “If no one answers the door we’re provided with phone numbers for the resident, a relative or neighbor nearby to call — as well as for the Homebound Meals downtown office,” said Paul.
Thank you Paul and Theresa for your commitment and thanks to Vince and the staff at Today’s Catholic for the story and publicity for Homebound Meals.
“Homebound Meals is a good program, and something worthwhile that can be done by volunteers without spending taxpayer dollars,” said Paul. “But it is a commitment,” he added, “and not something we can shirk on a Thursday because we don’t feel like going.”
Want to know more about becoming a volunteer driver like Paul and Theresa? Call the Homebound Meals office at 260-422-3296 or visit the Volunteer page on our website.