On Oct. 29, I had a chance to ride along with a Meals on Wheels deliverer to find out what the service was really like.
After riding with Diane Pflederer for an hour I learned plenty more about the program, residents she delivered to and even what makes her be so dedicated to the service.
Pflederer started delivering meals about a year ago after retiring from OSF Saint Francis Medical Center a year-and-a-half ago. After leaving a career of nursing and nursing administration, she wanted to keep giving back to the community.
“I have within me a deep passion to serve others,” she said.
Overall, Pflederer, said it takes about an hour for her to pick up the delivery list from WeCare, get the meals at Restmore and deliver them.
“It’s something that you can really feel like you’re serving people in a short amount of time,” Pflederer said.
She takes the first route, which has about a dozen stops, including 10 people at Creekwood Estates. She never has done the second route, which features some houses in more of the rural areas, but may eventually try it in the future.
While on the road to the first houses on her trek, she talked about some of the people she has met along the way and ties she has developed. However, she never stops to talk to residents for an extended amount of time to keep the meals warm for the people at the end of the trip.
“It’s a brief opportunity to smile and say hello, which is nice,” Pflederer said.
Another way she helps make them smile is by wearing a different festive hat for the holidays. Last week, it was a decorated witch’s hat.
During her year as a Meals on Wheels deliverer, Pflederer said she has had a few new additions to her route and has lost some people as they have moved to new areas or retirement homes.
“I’ve met a whole group of people here that I enjoy seeing every week,” she said.
Overall, the trip takes her about 15 miles from home to picking up and delivering the meals and going back home. She only delivers on Mondays, but volunteers can choose how often they want to deliver.
She added that delivering has also helped her learn more about how the streets in Morton are laid out.
“I think for a village the size of Morton we’re very fortunate we have Meals on Wheels,” Pflederer said. “It’s really a good way to be a volunteer and serve the community of Morton.”
Anyone interested in volunteering can stop by the WeCare office at 111 Detroit Parkway in Morton.