Shawn Moran: Delivering meals and smiles for nearly three decades
During his 29 years as a volunteer for Meals On Wheels Delaware, Shawn Moran has not only delivered nutritious lunch-time meals to homebound seniors, he’s also made life a bit more pleasant for them.
“My smile may be the only one they see all day or all week,” says the 63-year-old Wilmington resident.
The people who rely on volunteers like Moran are seniors who want to remain in their own homes but are alone or disabled without anyone to prepare food for them or are unable to prepare a meal for themselves.
He is one of 800 on a rotation schedule who cover 65 delivery routes each weekday for City Fare, one of five meal delivery programs run by Meals On Wheels Delaware (MOWD). Last year, City Fare, which is based at St. Anthony’s Center in Wilmington, delivered about 300,000 meals throughout Wilmington and New Castle County. Statewide, the five programs delivered a total of 727,418 meals to 4,093 seniors ages 60 and over in 2016.
Moran’s employer, Patterson Schwartz Real Estate in Claymont, is part of a group of businesses that assist MOWD by allowing employees extra time during lunch breaks to deliver meals. Fourteen employees at his office participate in the program, although Moran has delivered meals longer than any of them.
One week a month he and his coworkers take turns delivering the meals. Moran usually goes on Mondays and takes any other day available during that week. He normally delivers to 12-22 seniors. “I love doing it,” he says. “I have no intention of stopping. It makes me feel good to be able to help.”
Moran first stops at the Claymont Senior Center to pick up coolers containing hot meals of fish or beef, fruit, veggies, milk and dessert. Then he heads to the communities of Bellefonte and Claymont, where he’s delivered meals since 1988.
Sometimes a visit turns out to be more than dropping off a meal. Moran has called 911 on two occasions, once when he found a woman at the bottom of the stairs with a broken leg, and another time when he discovered a woman with a compound fracture of her foot. He also checks simple things such as the heat or air conditioning. On a cold winter day, he bought a bag of salt and sprinkled it on a walkway at the home of a senior he delivered to. She thanked him with cookies.
“Volunteers are the heart of each (meal delivery) program,” says Anne Love, executive director of MOWD. “The nutritious meal, friendly volunteer visit and safety checks help our seniors cope with three of the biggest threats of aging: hunger, isolation, and loss of independence.”
More volunteers are desperately needed to deliver meals, especially in the Claymont and New Castle area, says Erica Porter Brown, project director for City Fare. “We are short each day about 15 routes.”
For Moran, volunteering is part of his life and something he looks forward to. “It’s an immediate impact that I don’t want to miss.”