Vol­un­teer Spot­light: Orville & Bet­ty Brown for Home Deliv­ered Meals

It start­ed out as a one-year com­mit­ment — and then anoth­er — and then anoth­er. Over thir­ty years lat­er, Orville and Bet­ty Brown are still on the move, sup­port­ing KYC’s Home Deliv­ered Meals pro­gram. In a recent inter­view, the cou­ple shared some of their sto­ries, expe­ri­ences, and insights they’ve gained togeth­er as some of KYC’s longest-stand­ing vol­un­teers. The pair first agreed to vol­un­teer in Octo­ber of 1987, and they still don’t have an end to their vol­un­teerism in sight.

The Browns had per­son­al con­nec­tions through their par­ents to meal deliv­ery pro­grams. Bet­ty’s moth­er had received meals, and Orville’s had deliv­ered them. They say this is what keeps them com­ing back to vol­un­teer — as Bet­ty put it, we can’t pay [our par­ents] back, but we can pay it for­ward.” They knew the impact this kind of pro­gram could have on the lives of those receiv­ing meals, and through their expe­ri­ences, they know first-hand how reward­ing it can be to do the delivering. 

About the Home Deliv­ered Meals Program

KYC sup­ports sev­er­al meal deliv­ery routes, bring­ing nutri­tious meals to old­er adults who face chal­lenges prepar­ing their own meals. Meals are deliv­ered five days a week, Mon­day through Fri­day, on noon-time routes that are cov­ered by a rotat­ing set of vol­un­teers. Orville and Bet­ty share the longest route, deliv­er­ing meals togeth­er, one day a week. Every Mon­day, they deliv­er 8 — 12 meals in about an hour. They don’t have an offi­cial tal­ly of how many meals they’ve deliv­ered in their careers, but they’re con­ser­v­a­tive­ly 15,000 meal pro­fes­sion­als. The Browns under­stand that the meals they deliv­er are impor­tant, but they also know that their arrival each Mon­day brings much more than just a bal­anced plate.

For every ques­tion we asked the Browns about the Meals pro­gram, they trans­lat­ed the logis­tics of how the pro­gram oper­ates into sto­ries about how this pro­gram impacts the peo­ple that it sup­ports. They get to know the peo­ple that they serve, and tru­ly care for them. In addi­tion to the meals them­selves, Orville and Bet­ty are able to pro­vide com­pan­ion­ship to peo­ple who may have dif­fi­cul­ty get­ting out of the house. They safe­guard the well­be­ing of peo­ple who have unre­li­able health by check­ing in with them reg­u­lar­ly. These crit­i­cal gifts can be life-sav­ing to the seniors and fam­i­lies they serve, and the Browns are hap­py to give. 

What it Means to Volunteer

Orville and Bet­ty say that their favorite part of this pro­gram is see­ing the joy that it brings. While their route gen­er­al­ly serves the same peo­ple from one week to the next, over the course of their impres­sive vol­un­teer tenure, they have seen many meals recip­i­ents join and leave the pro­gram. They not­ed that it can be sad to lose touch with the peo­ple they have grown to know through their ser­vice. But, they’ve also had thou­sands of oppor­tu­ni­ties to bring joy to peo­ple who need and appre­ci­ate it.

The Home Deliv­ered Meals pro­gram is cur­rent­ly seek­ing addi­tion­al vol­un­teers to help fill routes or to step in as sub­sti­tute dri­vers. A com­mit­ment of one hour per week can change the lives of the peo­ple this pro­gram sup­ports, and can be a tru­ly reward­ing vol­un­teer expe­ri­ence. If you are inter­est­ed in becom­ing a part of this essen­tial pro­gram, please con­tact KYC at 8475248800.

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