September 19, 2023
The lovely Sharin and Ken have been volunteering with Links2Care for an incredible 17 years and we’d just like to show our sincere appreciation for all their wonderful work and the priceless contribution they’ve made to our community by sharing a bit of their story.
After retirement, Sharin and Ken knew they wanted to do something meaningful in their community, so when they saw in the paper that Links2Care needed volunteers, they jumped at the chance. After an initial interview, everyone knew it would be a great fit, and so their volunteering journey began. Sharin and Ken opted to deliver meals as a duo, with Ken as, according to his wife, a very patient and safe driver, and Sharin as, according to us, a very warm and friendly “runner”, dropping off meals to isolated clients.
What did they get out of it? Sharin has a clear answer: “Satisfaction!” They enjoy doing something for those who can’t always help themselves. They say, “it’s a worthwhile experience” and enjoy the human contact as well as simply driving the routes. They’ve gotten to know the clients very well over the years and have many stories to tell.
And Sharin and Ken see first hand that clients, aside from enjoying a nutritious meal that they may not otherwise be able to cook for themselves, clearly benefit from the interaction. Clients have built a relationship with Sharin after all these years and look forward to seeing her regularly. Maintaining social connection has been linked to many health benefits such as reduced depression, improved cognitive functions, lower blood pressure, etc. For many, the volunteer may be their only social contact on that day or even for several days, so the deliveries also function as a wellbeing check. Essentially, the service feeds body and soul, enabling clients to remain living independently and in good health in their own homes, which is usually their preference. And the nutrition and regular check-ins have the added benefit of providing peace of mind to the client’s family.
According to Sharin and Ken, there have been many, many special moments throughout their 17 years – lovely ones, as well as sad ones. One occasion, which stuck with them, was a client, who, after receiving her meal delivery, asked them if they had an extra minute. The client came back with a picture of her first great-grandson welcomed to the family only days earlier. Due to the distance, the new great-grandmother had not had a chance to see the little one yet, but the pure excitement and pride the client displayed in sharing her news, touched Sharin and Ken and really shows just how much the clients integrate the volunteers into their lives.
We can’t thank Sharin and Ken enough for their incredible dedication and compassion, for sharing their time and energy, for making this program possible, and for enhancing the quality of life of their neighbours. But they simply attest that they also benefit: “When coming home, it just feels good!”