Kids Make a Big Difference to Homebound Seniors
Third and Fourth grade students at Nathan Hale Elementary School connect with local seniors through Kenneth Young Center’s Meals on Wheels program.
Jackson Burress, a third grader at Nathan Hale Elementary School, has been volunteering for Meals on Wheels with his mom Haley for the past four years. “I love visiting my Meals on Wheels friends,” says Jackson. “They are always so nice to me, tell me stories, and sometimes give me a piece of candy!”
For Jackson, it’s more than an occasional sweet treat that keeps him returning to the houses of local home-bound seniors, hands full with a warm meal - he loves the fact that he can make someone smile. “Sometimes, we are the only people our Meals on Wheels friends see for the day,” says Haley, Jackson’s mom. “We make it a point to be cheery and kind, and we see that returned to us every time.”
Jackson has gotten his friends involved with Meals on Wheels throughout the past few years. He has asked neighbors if he could cut flowers from their gardens to give to the seniors on his Meals on Wheels route and has even brought a friend along to help deliver meals. This year, he enlisted the help of his teacher, Miss Ostrowski. Jackson wanted to see if his classmates could each write a letter to brighten the day of Meals on Wheels recipients. Miss Ostrowski jumped on board and soon the entire 3rd and 4th grade classrooms were writing letters!
“It was very rewarding to see the kids get so excited about writing a letter to make someone else happy,” says Miss Ostrowski. The kids learned about the Meals on Wheels program and worked hard to write a letter that was friendly, kind, and thoughtful. “The students knew their letters were going to be a bright spot in the day of a local senior and worked to make it special,” recalled Miss Ostrowski.
“The seniors loved receiving their letters,” says Kate Garbarek, Director of Development and Communications at Kenneth Young Center. “It is refreshing and inspiring to see kids dedicating their school time to kindness, as well as to the art of a thoughtful letter. We are so thankful for Jackson, Miss Ostrowski, and the students at Nathan Hale School!”
The Meals on Wheels program, coordinated through the Kenneth Young Center, serves more than 100 seniors throughout the local community by delivering hot and nutritious meals throughout the week. However, sometimes the visit, friendly face, and note from a loving elementary schooler, means the most.