Mary Gibson and Catherine Cook deliver meals to 10 to 14 clients a day on their Meals on Wheels route.
Written By Anne Blue
Every other Monday, friends Mary Gibson and Catherine Cook load coolers into their car and drive around the Westminster area delivering meals to those in need.
Gibson, 83, who lives in Hampstead, and Cook, 89, from Westminster, have logged 20 years together as volunteer delivery drivers for Meals on Wheels.
“Once I retired,” said Gibson, “I wanted something to do besides frivolousness. I wanted to give something back.”
“And Mary talked me into helping her,” said Cook. “We take turns driving and afterwards we go out to lunch.”
“We have been to just about every lunch place in the Westminster area five or six times,” said Gibson. “We help people who can’t get out and we get to enjoy being together as well.”
Meals on Wheels volunteers deliver food to clients who are homebound and cannot shop or prepare meals for themselves. The nonprofit organization depends on volunteers to help pack and deliver meals for 100 to 130 clients throughout Carroll County each weekday, according to Lynelle Osborn, Program Service Supervisor.
The homebound can receive meals regardless of their age or economic status. Gibson and Cook visit 10 to 14 clients on their route, delivering two meals to each. The human contact is just as important as the meals.
“Sometimes we are the only people they [their clients] see all day,” said Cook. “I think we make their day. I feel like I am doing something for people.”
“These two ladies deliver meals with a smile,” said Osborn. “We need lots of volunteers and these women have been doing it so long. They are truly two individuals who care about other human beings.”
Gibson and Cook have had many interesting experiences through the years. Once they found a client having a seizure. They immediately called 911, then waited with him until medical help arrived. He spent a week in the hospital. The next time they came to deliver his meal, he thanked the women for saving his life.
During another delivery, the women followed their instructions to enter the home and leave the meal on the dining room table. There were no notations about a dog being in the home.
“I went in and there was a dog standing at the top of the stairs barking and barking,” said Gibson. “I slipped in, left the meal on the table, and got out of that house really fast.”
Back in the car, the pair realized they had delivered the meal to the wrong home.
“I told Mary I was not going in that house with the dog,” said Cook. “She moves faster than me, so she went back in there and got that meal.”
“The important thing is that we got the meal delivered to the right house,” said Gibson.
Despite having their own occasional aches and pains, the friends continue to enjoy the camaraderie of volunteering and vow to do so as long as their health allows.
For more information about Meals on Wheels, access the website, www.mealsonwheelsmd.org/about_us/Carroll_County, or call Carroll County Meals on Wheels at 410-857-4447.