Updated: Mar 5
Today, the average life expectancy is at a record high of 79 years. As we get older, even the most independent among us may experience physical declines or financial hardship that strips away our independence. Add to that an increase in geographic mobility of our families, and the result is millions of seniors left behind, hungry and alone. Nationwide, Meals on Wheels focuses on caring for individuals whose diminished mobility makes it hard to shop for food, prepare meals or socialize with others. Generally, programs serve adults 60 and over, although age requirements can vary by program and areas served.
Paula Keehr, a long time Yankton resident and devoted volunteer was recently presented with United Way & Volunteer Services of Greater Yankton’s Volunteer of the Month Award for her dedication to our local Meals on Wheels program. Mandi Lampman, The Center’s Meals on Wheels Program Coordinator nominated Paula stating, “Paula is always willing to pick up an extra route when needed. She has gone the extra step by helping me set up the routes to be more sufficient. The clients on her route rave about how she goes above and beyond every time she delivers their meals. She always has a smile on and a heart of gold. I am beyond blessed to have Paula as a Meals on Wheels route driver.”
We asked Paula to share more about her volunteer efforts.
I have lived in the Yankton area since 1985 and began volunteering after I retired from the Postal Service as a city letter carrier in 2014.
I continue volunteering because I enjoy it plain and simple. It is flexible and I can do things I like to do.
I volunteer for The Center delivering Meals on Wheels and Heartland Humane Society as a dog walker. I volunteer approximately 175 hours a year in the Yankton community.
Volunteer work is enjoyable it makes me feel useful and I receive more than I give.
My best volunteer experience is when we have puppies at the Humane Society. Who doesn’t like puppies?!
The advice I would give to those thinking about getting out there and volunteering in their communities is: Just do it. There are so many places that can use your help and all the people you meet are great.
To learn more about local volunteer opportunities or to nominate a Volunteer of the Month, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call United Way at (605) 665-6766.