May 8

Jodi Wolk of Brookline: Volunteer Home Delivered Meal Driver

Before the COVID 19 pandemic took hold in Massachusetts, Brookline resident, Jodi Wolk focused her energy on her interior design business and playing tennis. For now, she has put those pursuits aside to  volunteer for Springwell, delivering meals daily to homebound seniors. Jodi learned about Springwell’s urgent need for volunteer drivers through the Brookline Mutual Aid list serve.

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 Jodi was swift.  Jodi signed on in late March, and after experiencing the need firsthand, enlisted several others in her tennis group to join the more than 90 volunteers currently keeping the non-profit’s home-delivered meal program on the road.

For Jodi, the experience has raised her awareness of the huge need for home delivered meals for seniors, especially those who have no other way to get the nutritious food that they need during the pandemic. The experience is also rewarding. While meal recipients are mindful of social distancing, she receives enthusiastic thank you greetings and waves every day, and she says she can feel the gratitude. As a bonus, she has learned more about the both the geography and cultural diversity of her community by driving routes daily through the many different neighborhoods that make up Brookline.

For Springwell, it is important that staff and meal recipients thank Jodi every day. While the volunteer driving program has had a robust response, the organization has an ongoing need to recruit the volunteers it will continue to depend on for the foreseeable future. Among the communities served by Springwell, Brookline is one with the largest need for meals and more volunteers familiar with and willing to drive in Brookline are especially needed. More information about the volunteer home-delivered meals initiative here, and Springwell’s other volunteer programs here.