As part of our celebration of National Volunteer Month, YMOW is excited to announce the launch of a new volunteer recognition program. Each quarter, YMOW staff will choose a valuable volunteer to honor as our Volunteer of the Quarter.
Our first honorees are Mike and Gerri Quashnie of Ypsilanti Township. Although they began delivering meals just a few months ago, they’ve already made a difference in the lives of YMOW clients.
“The Quashnies are important members of the YMOW team,” said Volunteer Coordinator Rolanda Logan.
Rolanda said the Quashnies, who deliver meals each Monday and Tuesday, are in demand amongst YMOW clients. After receiving their meals from the couple, several clients have requested that the Quashnies return.
“Clients appreciate the extra time that Mike and Gerri take, whether it’s to help with a small task or just to chat,” Rolanda said.
Mike and Gerri knew the value of Meals on Wheels long before they delivered their first meals as YMOW volunteers. Health problems made it difficult for Gerri’s brother, Jack, to leave his Florida home, so Gerri and her other brothers arranged for Meals on Wheels to visit with healthy food each day.
The decision ultimately saved Jack’s life when the driver from the local Meals on Wheels arrived one day to discover that Jack had fallen and broken his hip.
“It was his only contact with people,” Gerri said. Without that visit, there’s no telling how long he might have remained on the floor, unable to move or call for help.
Returning the favor
Jack wasn’t the only one to count on that daily visit. Gerri and Mike took great comfort in knowing that someone was checking on him, and that even though he was several states away, her brother was not alone. Now, Gerri and Mike are providing that same comfort for other families, and that same companionship for their neighbors in Ypsilanti.
Both Mike and Gerri were retired for several years before they became YMOW volunteers. Their first day on the job was a challenge. With heavy snow falling, the couple’s GPS wouldn’t work, so they had to rely on other means to find their way around the unfamiliar streets of the West Willow neighborhood.
Things have since become easier, and more familiar.
Mike said it typically takes a couple of hours to deliver to the 20-or-so clients on their route.
“It all depends on how much Gerri talks,” Mike said.
Along with taking time to chat with each person on their route, the Quashnies happily perform small tasks for the people they visit. Something as simple as taking an item from a shelf or bringing in the trash can make someone’s day better, Gerri said.
“It takes me half a second, but it helps them a lot,” she said.
Both said they look forward to greeting the people on their route every Monday and Tuesday. And Gerri said her job as volunteer has other perks, as well.
“I get in all my steps on those days,” Gerri said.
Join Our Team
Those who rely on YMOW for their food and a daily visit would welcome a few more people like the Quashnies. With Saturday delivery set to launch in just a couple of months, YMOW is in need of more volunteers than ever.
Volunteers are free to choose when and how often they serve.
If you’re interested in making a difference in the lives of your homebound neighbors, contact Rolanda Logan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (734) 487-9669, Ext. 2.