Volunteering for Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels isn’t just about delivering meals. Sometimes, it’s about counting bottles of shampoo, attending a meeting of the Meals on Heels planning committee or calling a client in need of a friendly chat.
Mary Fayad, our volunteer of the third quarter, does all of these things and more.
A volunteer for more than six years, Mary had plans to join the Meals on Wheels mission even before her retirement. Mary had served as her mother’s meal provider. When her mother died, Mary chose to honor her by continuing to provide seniors, especially those without family to provide for them, with nutrition and support.
Mary was accompanying YMOW drivers on weekly shifts when COVID-19 put a temporary end to ride-alongs in March 2020. At the same time, donations of toiletries, cleaning supplies and incontinence products for the YMOW Personal Care Pantry were coming in just as quickly as client requests for the items.
When she received an email from Volunteer Manager Jessica Cichowlas asking for someone with organizational skills to help get the pantry in order, Mary stepped up.
“I had already cleaned all of my own closets about five times,” said Mary, who was eager to find a new way to help YMOW, not to mention a way to get out of the house as COVID raged on. She began coming in every Friday to log new donations, organize the pantry shelves and take stock of what had gone out to clients and what donations were needed.
Volunteer Manager Jessica Cichowlas said Mary’s help has been invaluable.
“Mary’s special eye and organizational skills are key to keeping the pantry clean and manageable,” Jessica said. An organized pantry means clients can get the items they need in a timely manner, and staff can easily see when supplies are running low.
With a return of ride-along routes, Mary is once again delivering meals each Wednesday. Meanwhile, she continues to keep tabs on the pantry and also helps with meal prep before her weekly route. She also makes regular calls to three YMOW clients who rely on her for a friendly chat and a little relief from isolation.
Through the years she has been at the center of YMOW’s annual December fundraiser, doing everything from planning to serving punch and guiding guests.
“I do whatever needs to be done,” Mary said. “I just love doing it.”