MEALS. WHEELS. LOVE. LAND.
When I used to work in radio, my fellow DJs and I always knew that if you had an event where you blocked off a road and people could eat and drink in the middle of a street, it would be a success...as long as it didn’t rain.
There's a draw to being able to party in the middle of a road. It's like you're getting away with something.
Less than an hour north of Denver, along the Front Range of Colorado, the rapidly growing town of Loveland occupies a scenic bit of land. Prairie stretches out, seemingly endlessly to the east, and the Rocky Mountains jut up suddenly and tower over the area to the west.
For 50 years, Meals on Wheels of Loveland & Berthoud has been a part of this community. Fifty years spent caring for and bringing food to the area's home-bound elderly. Meals on Wheels is an international organization with a mission "to empower local community programs to improve the health and quality of life of the seniors they serve so that no one is left hungry or isolated."
Growing old is both a blessing and a curse. As the years advance, you're fortunate to have made it as long as you have. You've collected a long-lifetime of memories, wisdom, and experience. But you also face the realities of a fading network of friends and family members, and of a body and mind that begin to betray you.
Everyday, Meals on Wheels volunteers in Loveland, and in more than 5,000 communities across the country, not only make sure participants receive a warm and healthy meal, but they make sure the clients are safe and have a positive social interaction. The body and soul need nourished by more than just food.
To celebrate 50 years of service, raise awareness of their mission, and increase support for their program, Meals on Wheels of Loveland & Berthoud held the Meals on 4th event. We were part of a crew tasked with transforming a quaint downtown block of Fourth Street into a venue that could accommodate dinner, drinks, a live band, and an auction.
Throughout the morning and afternoon, as the sun climbed higher in the sky, and the temperature followed suit, we setup tables and decorations. We then hid under trees and drank water. We laid out linens and chairs, then gathered under trees to gulp down water. We placed dishes and silverware, and then sought refuge under trees and chugged water.
After the final fork was positioned, we took a brief moment to survey our surroundings. Fourth Street was no longer just pavement. It was alive and looked festive with tables that were elegant, bars that were inviting, and even a stage.
The only thing that looked out of place was the group of sweaty but smiling people that seemed to be loitering and admiring the surroundings.
We, and the other volunteers, were that group.
So as not to taint the atmosphere, and so the next group of volunteers could start preparing to serve meals and drinks, we exited just as the sun began to relent its scorching hold on the day, moving lower on the horizon while allowing a few clouds to roll in.
Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Pearl Buck wrote, "Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members." Let's make sure we can still pass that test. In fact, let's keep getting better as a society and civilization. Let's ensure that we are caring for all of our old, all of our weak, and all of the helpless members of our towns, states, countries, and planet.
Re-hydrated and slightly more tanned, we followed up with the Meals on 4th organizers the next day and are happy to report that the event was a success...it didn't rain.