Mary Ducker began caring for others long before she embarked on a career in nursing. As an eighth-grader, she volunteered at a local nursing home, and in high school, she tutored younger students who needed a little help. Now, as a retired nurse, she gives her time to her homebound neighbors as a volunteer for Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels.
“It’s kind of in my nature,” said Mary, YMOW’s final Volunteer of the Quarter for 2022.
Mary said her sister, who delivers meals for a Meals on Wheels program in Virginia, inspired her to become part of YMOW’s delivery team, which she did in August 2021. Since then Mary has accompanied Client Care Associates on delivery routes, helped to prepare meals for delivery, and taken on her own weekly mini route.
“I check the schedule often,” said Mary, who is eager to take on additional shifts whenever they’re available.
Volunteer Manager Chris Brown said he can always count on Mary when he needs an extra set of hands. When Chris was working to add a 7th volunteer route to accommodate a growing client base, he called on Mary to work out the logistics.
“I knew that Mary was the right person to help us troubleshoot. With her help, we were able to quickly incorporate the route into our schedule and continue serving clients,” Chris said.
“I’m getting more familiar with the people I deliver to,” Mary said of the clients on her weekly route. “I try to check on them and see how they are doing.”
When extra things like Starbucks items and fresh produce are available, Mary said she knows just who on her route will enjoy which items the most.
Mary said she enjoys spending time with the YMOW staff and volunteers. Most of all, she enjoys greeting the clients on her route and knowing she can make a difference in their days and their lives. When Mary recently noticed that a client on her route appeared ill, she contacted the YMOW social worker. The man required a hospital stay, but after getting the attention he needed, he’s back home and feeling better. That might not have happened without Mary’s knock on the door.
“I'm always happy to see Mary's name on the schedule for the week. She is so dependable, and clearly cares a lot about helping people,” Chris said.