When Kayce King volunteered to deliver Meals-on-Wheels, she never imagined how important those visits were to the recipients and how the visits can be more important than the food.
In 2008, Kayce signed up to deliver meals when her Winston-Salem Rotary Club began sponsoring a route delivered on a rotating basis by club members. Always interested in having hands-on experiences, Kayce volunteered to go with another club member on a route. On her first day of volunteering, Kayce and her club partner, Jim, had their orientation at Senior Services then headed off on their route.
“I’ll never forget that experience,” says Kayce, who became a Senior Services board member a few years after her volunteering began for Meals-on-Wheels.
“On one of the first stops we made, we knocked on the door and a woman came to the door using a walker. She had a hollow-eyed look and said ‘can you come in? I have to tell you something.”
Kayce and Jim stepped inside still holding the hot meal. The woman said, “I just found out that my daughter died this morning. You’re the first people I’ve told.”
They looked at each other stunned, then asked if they could sit down with her for a minute. She explained that her daughter in her 40’s had a heart attack and died unexpectedly that morning. They sat with her, holding her hand, weeping and listening to her talk while she showed them photos of her daughter.
“It was sad that there wasn’t anyone that she could immediately reach out to,” said Kayce. “But we were there at that moment when she really needed to talk to someone. And from then on, I knew it was more than the food.”
When Kayce and Jim left, they were satisfied that the woman was going to call her Pastor and she would get help planning her daughter’s funeral. “But we weren’t sure she had anyone else to call.”
Kayce, now serves as President of the downtown Rotary Club and works as Director of Client Management at Abbot Downing. In addition to serving on the Foundation Board of Senior Services, Kayce serves on the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership Board.
“Some (recipients) really need to talk and have very few visitors,” said Kayce. “I wish I had more time to sit down and talk to those client who need it.”
More volunteers are needed each week to bring healthy meals and warm visits to homebound seniors. Volunteer or donate to help Meals-on-Wheels reach more seniors in need.