Dylan's Drive to Make a Difference with Meals on Wheels

By Sara Porcaro | Feb 8, 2022
Rhode Island, Disabilities, Inclusive, Workforce, Volunteering, Meals on Wheels, Employment
Dylan and Clint Delivering Meals

There are a thousand and two ways to make a difference in our communities. Professionals serving local patrons with exceptional care, tutors helping their fellow students learn, or volunteers lending their skills to those in need are all examples of the way we can work together and connect with each other, reaching out the helping hand that brings everyone up. Aside from the reward of getting to know people in our towns and neighborhoods, or being able to support ourselves off the work we do for others when we make it a career, there’s one thing that puts the cherry on top no matter what: knowing that our actions made a difference. And for Dylan, his volunteer work with Meals on Wheels is one way he gives back to his community every week!
Meals on Wheels is a non-profit dedicated to helping seniors in our community maintain their independence by delivering meals to people who may have difficulty doing everyday meal prep for themselves. With the COVID-19 pandemic increasing the issues of food security, isolation, and loneliness, this initiative is all the more important to keep members of our community connected, supported, and healthy. As 58% of Meals on Wheels’ recipients live alone, they state that for many recipients, the one delivering their meal is the only person they’ll see for the day—and for Dylan, it’s a chance to not only deliver a good meal, but also a smile to go with it.
“It’s amazing to see [Dylan] feel so motivated and fully invested in the Meals on Wheels service,” notes DSP Clint Zarembka, who joins Dylan on his route. “It makes me happy to see him be so excited, and the people he serves enjoy having him around; they look forward to seeing him each week.”
“It makes me happy to see him be so excited, and the people he serves enjoy having him around."
Together, Clint and Dylan make their rounds across parts of Providence and Pawtucket, visiting homes and apartment complexes to deliver meals. They start the day by packing up a cooler bag with the day’s meals, then checking their list to see where in the city they’ll be off to, moving quickly and efficiently to ensure everyone on their list has a meal by lunchtime. And as recipients get their meals, they light up, grateful for the friendly face they see when they open the door. While the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more difficult to see faces due to mask mandates, it’s nonetheless easy to see Dylan’s smile in his eyes, and he gives them a wave before he’s off to his next stop.
“This service really benefits Dylan because it boosts his independence,” Clint adds. “In the year we’ve done it, he’s learned how to read and check the lists, paying attention to types of foods and drinks that match with each address on his own and take charge.”
It’s no wonder, of course, why good-hearted people like Dylan choose to volunteer: the benefits of volunteering are numerous, whether it be boosting self confidence and social skills or making new friends and finding ways to stay active around town. And for many, the skills learned through real world experience are just another big bonus. From learning how to work quickly and accurately on the routes, like Dylan has, to working together with other volunteers and developing great teamwork, volunteers build crucial talents for their future careers, and it’s a great way to explore the type of work one is interested in before they commit to new jobs. That makes volunteering a win-win all around, and we’re giving Dylan a shout-out for working hard to make a difference in the lives of others!
If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities, whether to do as a family or to do solo as a way to meet new people in your community, there’s dozens of ways to get involved, and checking out Meals on Wheels is a great place to start! Visit their website here.


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