David Simpson of Watertown: Volunteer Home Delivered Meal Driver
When COVID19 hit Massachusetts, David Simpson was between jobs and had just started to interview for a new job as an advertising production manager. Since the hiring process was slowed due to the pandemic, David looked for a valuable way to spend his time. He saw the request for volunteer home delivered meals drivers on the Watertown news site and signed up to join Springwell the same day.
Springwell, a local non-profit serving older adults and caregivers with in-home services and supports, provides daily meals for over 800 seniors in Belmont, Brookline, Newton, Waltham, Watertown, Wellesley, and Weston.
When COVID-19 hit, Springwell’s meal programs became an essential service for a vulnerable population. The Home Delivered Meals program faced challenges immediately when an employment service closed under the statewide emergency order in March. The organization quickly developed and deployed a volunteer driver recruitment program, and the response from people like David was swift. David is among the more than 90 volunteers currently keeping the non-profit’s home-delivered meal program on the road.
At another point in his life, David volunteered for six years with an organization delivering holiday meals and spending time with isolated older adults. That experience made David aware of how alone isolated elder adults feel and what a difference connection makes in their lives. “The pandemic magnifies that isolation ten times because visitors and caregivers often can’t come due to physical distancing. I can’t hang out with these individuals now, but I can bring them meals and give them a warm greeting. I have happily driven the same route daily for several weeks and like getting to know the people.”
“While we try to make delivery without contact, sometimes people need help because they are unable to carry the food inside. Wearing my mask and gloves, they appreciate me safely placing it on their counter. One man stumbled and fell while coming to the door without his walker. I called for help and stayed until I knew he was okay. The next day, his wife came to the door and I asked how he was doing. She responded with tears in her eyes that he is fine, but the pandemic is so isolating that she deeply appreciated me asking.”
David will be starting his new job soon but is asking his employer for a flexible schedule so he can continue to deliver meals to seniors in need.
Springwell and meal recipients are grateful for David and the other delivery drivers every day. While the volunteer driving program has had a robust response, the organization has an ongoing need to recruit the volunteers it will need to depend on for the foreseeable future. More information about the volunteer home-delivered meals initiative here, and Springwell’s other volunteer programs here.