From Meals on Wheels Volunteer to Customer, Ron Walcheski Has Come Full Circle
Ron Walcheski and his family knew he needed some changes to continue living independently after he fell while grocery shopping and broke his nose and other bones. Ron’s son, Robert, suggested he sign up for Meals on Wheels once or twice a week.
Ron agreed to give the delivery service a try. He thought the meals were good, so he signed up for Wilder Meals on Wheels five days a week. Several years later, Ron continues to enjoy the meals and the connection he has with the volunteers who bring meals to his house.
“A lot of the volunteers know my name and I know them. I look forward to their visits. I really enjoy Meals on Wheels and can’t imagine being without it. I can have the meal whenever I want, for lunch or supper and warm or cold,” Ron says.
The meals help Ron’s adult children feel comfortable with their dad’s choice to age in place. “For me it brings me a sense of relief that Dad is safe and doesn’t have to go grocery shopping,” says his daughter, Deb Theis. “The meals are nutritious and he’s eating much better. When he was on his own, he wasn’t eating as well as he does now.”
Volunteering or Participating in Meals on Wheels Can Be a Family Affair
Ron’s meal deliveries bring the Walcheski family full circle with Meals on Wheels. Decades before Ron ever received a meal, he delivered them. Ron’s late wife, Lynne, worked as the first program coordinator when a Saint Paul organization in the North End started a Meals on Wheels program in the 1970s.
Ron pitched in on his days off from the United States Postal Service when his wife needed help. “She knew the routes and I’d do the running, delivering the meals,” Ron says. “On his days off, our son Robert was also more than happy to help out.”
Today, the Walcheski family continues to be involved in Meals on Wheels. During an all-day women’s event, Deb’s church decorated 100 paper lunch bags for Wilder Meals on Wheels. “We had women from ages 8 to 88 years, and it was really cool to see all of them decorating these bags,” Deb says. “The process came back around to my dad because he received some of those bags.”
Deb sees Meals on Wheels as a benefit not just for her dad, but for the community. “Meals on Wheels has been a blessing for dad and all of the older people I know and network with,” she says.