Every other Tuesday for the past two years, Johns Hopkins Medicine quality and clinical analyst Lee Healy has delivered groceries to 73-year-old Carol Huey as a Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland volunteer. Annually, the nonprofit organization delivers more than 1 million nutritious meals in Central Maryland. It also offers support services to over 3,100 homebound, elderly Marylanders each year, such as the Grocery Assistance Program, in which Healy participates.
“Lee has really been a help to me,” Huey says. “She gets what I want, and is good about making sure I get my fruits and vegetables. Lee brings my groceries in the door and puts the stuff away for me. She knows exactly where things go. the sweetest thing. She even gets me my favorite frozen dinners.”
Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland is a Johns Hopkins Neighborhood Fund grant recipient. The fund was created to support nonprofit organizations that both serve the communities near Johns Hopkins campuses and are associated with Johns Hopkins through employee or institutional involvement. The Neighborhood Fund uses pledge donations made through the United Way campaign to help local nonprofit organizations build stronger neighborhoods by addressing needs regarding community revitalization, education, employment, health and public safety.
Volunteers like Healy help support the organization and forge connections with the local community. Several years ago, Healy wanted to do more for her community. She knew she loved grocery shopping, so she searched “grocery shopping volunteer,” and Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland popped up.
“I love volunteering for Meals on Wheels,” Healy says. “It can take as little or as much time as you make it. It's rewarding. You get to see firsthand how helping.”
For Huey, Healy’s has been comfort.
“I want to prepare my own meals as long as I can,” Huey says. “I used to be able to drive and go to the grocery store. It got to where I drive anymore, and it's hard to carry the groceries up to my apartment with a walker and now a wheelchair. Lee’s got a job, got a husband, got pets, but she still has time to see me.”
Healy says volunteering for Meals on Wheels is very fulfilling.
“It's a joyful experience because you develop bonds with your clients,” Healy says. “I learn their lists and learn what they need. I love seeing them when I do deliveries.”
Julie Hershman, the senior director of volunteer support services for Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, says Healy is a dedicated volunteer.
“I’m impressed by her energy, enthusiasm and ideas,” Hershman says. “In addition to the hours she puts in, she is also on our volunteer advisory council, representing grocery delivery and pet food delivery.”
Hershman says Healy has valuable feedback and works to improve their services.
“She thinks big, and thinks about what would matter in terms of volunteer engagement and volunteer challenges,” Hershman says.
Ashley Quickley, volunteer services manager for Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, says volunteers make in the community.
“They serve many clients, and help reduce social isolation,” Quickley says. “Lee is an amazing volunteer. always attentive. When I think about what Lee means to her clients, the true definition of ‘More than a meal.’”