As is the case for most recent retirees, Suzy and Cary Engleberg’s decision to end their work careers came with the gift of more time - a gift that they are eager to share with their community and with Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels.
Each Wednesday the couple arrives at YMOW to load up meals for delivery to the Lynden Park apartments, where they bring food to about a dozen Meals on Wheels clients. Suzy said she and Cary work as a team to ensure each person gets the meals they are expecting, as well as the care and attention they need.
“Four eyes are better than two eyes,” Suzy said.
“I always said when I retired I would have more time to do volunteer work,” Suzy said. That time came during the pandemic, when she made the decision to join Cary’s post-career lifestyle. But the couple found few opportunities to work together, as many organizations remained under restrictions due to COVID-19.
YMOW, however, welcomed their help.
Suzy said it didn’t take long for her to realize that the job of YMOW volunteer isn’t just about dropping off a meal.
“Once you get to know the people, it’s wonderful to come back to the same people,” she said. “Being a friend is wonderful.”
And like any good friend, Suzy said she and Cary listen to their clients’ needs, relaying them back to the YMOW staff.
Cary said the people he and Suzy have met don’t fit into a single category.
“It’s a broad swath of people, with various needs,” he said, and rich histories and stories to tell.
“We enjoy it very much,” Cary said. But as much as he enjoys getting to know the clients at Lynden Park, Cary said he also likes knowing that every Wednesday, he’ll spend a few hours working with his wife of 45 years.
“The people on our route just love seeing us together,” Suzy said.
Chris Brown, supportive services manager at YMOW, said there’s no doubt Suzy and Cary are deserving of the honor of YMOW volunteers of the quarter.
“Suzy and Cary really take the time to get to know the people they serve, and genuinely care about our clients,” Chris said. “They truly understand what we mean when we say we deliver ‘more than a meal.’”