Typical Cases
The following extracts are from appeal letters that were mailed to Meals on Wheels supporters over the past few years. Few people realise what so many of our “old friends” are really going through.

Case 1
In one brief moment 3 year old Tammy and 5 year old David were deprived of their parents. It was a horrific accident. Most of the car was flattened as it tore beneath the stationary trailer. It was only through a miracle that Tammy and David survived. Their grandfather, 78 year old Derick, a loveable, gray-haired widower – being the only surviving family member – has now taken custody of the two toddlers.

Financially it has been a tremendous struggle but, thanks to you and your support, Meals on Wheels For The Aged has been able to ensure that one struggling granddad and his two orphaned grandchildren are receiving warm, nourishing meals on a regular basis.

Case 2

“The lump in my throat just would not leave me. Even though it was my 80th Christmas, it was an emotional nightmare.”

“My husband had passed away in early September and, for the first time in my life, I discovered the meaning of true loneliness. Then, just two days before Christmas, my only remaining companion was killed. Cindy, our little Cocker Spaniel, broke away from her leash and was run over before my very eyes.”

“Through bitter experience I have discovered that Christmas without a companion is no Christmas at all…”

Meals on Wheels volunteers have now introduced Mrs. T. to a number of new friends in her neighbourhood. Meals are being delivered to her home on a regular basis and she is eagerly looking forward to attending one of the special Meals on Wheels Christmas functions for the aged.

Case 3
Just a few months ago, 81 year old Murray tearfully laid his 103 year old father to rest. For forty-two years they had lived together in a tiny furnished flat.

“We developed a very close and unique friendship,” says Murray, “I would do the cooking and dad would do the talking.”

When Murray’s dad died, however, Murray not only lost his dearest friend on earth, but also the flat – for his father’s pension cheque had always covered the rent…

When Murray’s plight was brought to our attention, we found that he had rented a cold, dark, windowless “garage.” A single hot plate served as a stove and a heater. A narrow bed, a single-door cupboard, an upright chair, and a tiny, faded mat made up the furnishings. Murray had lost all motivation for cooking, he had not eaten for days, and he would spend most of each day in bed.

We are pleased to say, however, that the sparkle has returned to Murray’s deep blue eyes – He has now taken up residence in one of the Meals on Wheels old-age homes where he is surrounded by friends who care. Murray is looking forward to this year’s Meals on Wheels Christmas function with much excitement…

Case 4

“For most of the night I sat in the dark – clutching her pillow – sobbing uncontrollably. After 54 years of blissful marriage I could just not accept the fact that she was gone. Even today, disbelief takes hold of me every time I think of her.”

79 year old Laurie, is a shortish, lovable man. He has one of the friendliest smiles I have seen. He once made his living as a dentist but, thanks to prolonged illness, he lost his life savings. And now he has also lost his dear wife.

It was a rather desperate and bewildered Laurie who first made contact with Meals on Wheels For The Aged. As is so often the case, they had managed to get by on their combined pension cheques but now, being alone, he could barely pay the rent. Without Meals on Wheels For The Aged, Laurie would surely starve.

Case 5

“I never imagined that circumstances would one day demand that I give away my only close companion, Tammy, my cat, simply because I could not afford to feed her.”

Graham turned 84 just a few days ago. In 1994 his wife and only child passed away within months of each other. Ever since, Graham has lived a rather secluded life with Tammy being his only really close companion.

Eventually, after I had sold all that could be sold, Tammy and I were going hungry for the last few days in every month. In desperation, I made the decision to give Tammy away to a nice family down the road.

…And they were a nice family indeed. Suspecting that Graham was having financial difficulties, this family brought Graham’s struggle to the attention of the local branch of Meals on Wheels For The Aged.

To cut a long story short, Graham and Tammy are back together. Thanks to you, our loyal supporters, the Meals on Wheels voluntary helpers are now delivering warm, nourishing meals to Graham’s flat on a regular basis – together, each time, with a bowl of delectable scraps for Tammy.

Case 6

“Tomorrow I turn 86. I have been living on little more than baked beans and bread for days on end. Would it be possible for Meals on Wheels to deliver just one meal to me for my birthday?”

Harry is a tall, friendly, blue-eyed widower. On many occasions he had seen the little white Meals on Wheels van driving by, but he never dreamt that he would one day have need of the service. One thing led to another, however, and through no fault of his own, Harry is now forced to depend for his existence on his meager pension cheque – which barely pays the rent.

Nevertheless, I am happy to report that one of our voluntary helpers invited Harry to join her and her family for a grand 86th birthday party – and a good time was had by all.

And now, thanks only to your support, our voluntary helpers are delivering warm, nourishing meals to Harry’s small tenement on a regular basis. We have also partly solved his financial problems by finding him a boarder – and the two `bachelors’ are getting on just famously.

Need I tell you that there are thousands more in similar situations to Harry – with no one to turn to but the big-hearted people of our world who refuse to ignore the plight of the less fortunate.

Case 7

“On boxing day in 1972 I lost my wife and two sons in a head-on collision. As you can imagine, Christmas has been a rather trying time for me ever since. Friends, however, have been a wonderful antidote for my hurting and I would like to thank your voluntary helpers for their unselfish caring and unfailing kindness.”

“The Meals on Wheels Christmas function last year was the first social gathering that I have attended in over twenty years – and it did me a world of good. Thank you for all the trouble you went to and, if it is possible, please thank my sponsor on my behalf. Keep up the good work.”

Jim turned 79 this year. He is a shy man who will probably never get over his heartache. But thanks to people like you Jim receives regular meals, regular visits from friends who care, and this year we are sure he will again be attending one of the special Christmas functions for the Aged.

Case 8

“My arm was in plaster, my husband was in hospital, and medical costs had left us in dire financial straits. I spent a sad 76th birthday alone at home. There were no birthday cards in the mail that day, but the day following there was a letter from Meals on Wheels – appealing for funds.We are so sorry that we could not afford to support your appeal, but we are so thankful that that letter came our way. Thank you so much, we are enjoying the meals tremendously. Your volunteers have been a great comfort to us.”

Jim and Sally are a lovely couple. Because of their cheerful disposition, and this despite their unenviable circumstances, we have nicknamed them “the Smilers.” Jim is now convalescing at home. Sally’s arm is still in plaster. I need not tell you how grateful Jim and Sally are for your support.

Case 9
For all of his 87 years Graham never married. Through sad, blue-gray eyes, and in a quiet somber tone, he leaned forward on his stick and explained how he had been `so unlucky in love,’ – in his early twenties his childhood sweetheart and fiancè-to-be “deserted him for the arms of another.”

“Still to this day I think about her and miss her,’ Graham confided. Having seen to his own meals for almost seventy years, and having never progressed much beyond the preparation of scrambled eggs on toast, Graham is thrilled to now be receiving balanced meals from Meals on Wheels for the Aged. `I have lived on “bachelor’s food” for so long,’ he happily remarked `my stomach must be thinking this is heaven.”

Case 10

“I clutched the little Christmas tree in my arms and, sobbing uncontrollably, I crumpled to the floor…” “For the forty-seven years of our married life Penny and I had made a practice of decorating a small tree on her birthday – just three days before Christmas. But that day, being only a short while after her funeral, my emotions simply got the better of me…”

“Penny had always been very dear to me, but never as dear to me as she was that day…”

It was a sad and pensive Ted who told one of our voluntary helpers about his lonely ordeal – He never did manage to get his little Christmas tree decorated.

This year, however, Ted will be attending one of the special Meals on Wheels Christmas functions for the aged – together with more than 20,000 other lonely and struggling pensioners. At the function Ted will be introduced to new friends and he will be familiarised with the various other services that are provided by Meals on Wheels For The Aged.

Case 11

“All I heard was a cry from the kitchen… and then a crash. Milly, my wife, had fallen and cracked her hip. She was in terrible agony… She could not move and I, being bedridden, could do nothing to help. What were we to do? Neither of us could stand – and neither of us could get to the phone…”

“It was a terribly long night for both of us, our only consolation being the thought that the Meals on Wheels ladies would be around as usual in the morning…”

Case 12
Jeremy was born blind. He is now 56 years of age and is cared for by his 81 year old father – Bernie. Ever since Jeremy’s mother passed away some years ago, it has been a tremendous struggle for Jeremy and Bernie, but nothing in the world can tear this father and son apart. Thanks to you and the Meals on Wheels voluntary helpers, Jeremy and Bernie are coping under circumstances that will never be anything other than difficult.

Case 13

“A horrible, empty, apprehensive feeling engulfed me. The day I had been dreading for decades had suddenly arrived. For the first time in all my 84 years I would be spending Christmas alone…”

“As I rolled over in bed my eyes fell on our wedding photo and my emotions simply took over. I must have wept uncontrollably for well over an hour. Then I heard the knock at the door…”

This account has a somewhat happier ending than most. As it turned out, the family in the apartment next door heard Trudy’s crying and invited her to join them for the rest of the day. It was through these good neighbours that we were later informed of Trudy’s plight.

Case 14

“Loneliness and fear are my constant companions. Since Clem passed away eleven months ago, my life just seems to have lost all meaning. I no longer have the strength, or even the desire, to cook – and even if I did have, I still cannot afford much more than a basic diet of tea and bread.

“Clem and I only just managed to get by on our combined pensions – his pension would pay the rent, and mine would provide for the daily necessities. But now that he has gone I barely manage to pay the rent. Am I eligible to receive assistance from Meals on Wheels for the Aged?”

Sally is a slightly-built, blue eyed, and very soft-natured lady. She celebrated a very lonely 86th birthday in January. Hers is a very common and a very serious case, one that often leads the elderly to lose their motivation for living.

For the past two months we have been delivering warm, nutritious meals to Sally’s tiny tenement and we are pleased to say that she is now doing very well. She is especially grateful to her sponsor and is most comforted by the knowledge that she will be receiving regular visits from people who care.

Case 15

“The pain in my hip made it impossible for me to move. I could only lie there half naked on the bathroom floor and hope that someone would come to my aid. After two days I was starving and starting to panic.”

“My one and only consolation throughout this frightening ordeal was the knowledge that Sue and Helene, the voluntary helpers from Meals on Wheels For The Aged, would be calling around as usual on Monday morning…”

“I am deeply grateful to Meals on Wheels and to all who sponsor this wonderful service… you have saved my life.”

78 year old Mrs G. lives alone in a small flat. On Friday evening she fell and fractured her hip while climbing out of the bath. It was a long, lonely and very trying weekend for Mrs G. but, once again, Meals on Wheels For The Aged proved itself to be so much more than just a meal delivery service for the aged.

Case 16
As I handed him the meal, tears streamed down his wrinkled cheeks. 85 year old Neil was choked with emotion, not because this would be his first “home-cooked” meal in almost three years, but because he was overwhelmed by kindness. Between sobs, Neil posed a question that is often asked when we deliver the very first meal to the home of a needy pensioner…

“Why should a person who has never seen me be willing to sponsor my meals? Why should someone who doesn’t even know me show me such kindness?”

I believe that the answer to Neil’s question can be summed up in one word… love – that mysterious quality of the human heart that feels another’s pain, that relates to another’s suffering, and that refuses to turn away from another’s plight. It was thanks to the love of a small group of people in East London that our first “Meal on Wheels” was delivered – way back in 1964.

Thanks only to the love of people like you, almost two million meals per annum are now being delivered and served to needy pensioners throughout the country. A miracle of love? Indeed!