This week is National Volunteer Week, and Meals on Wheels San Diego County is highlighting some of its exceptional volunteers who are integral to the nonprofits mission.
Since its early beginnings, Meals on Wheels has delivered nearly 21 million meals to more than 4,000 seniors and 552 animals, with 3.402 volunteers who have collectively traveled nearly 650,000 miles. Each year, MOWSDC delivers more than 650,000 nutritious meals with friendly visits by their volunteers, helping seniors remain at home, and advocating for issues that impact the health, wellness, and independence of San Diegans 60 years and older, their pets, veterans of any age with disabilities, and their care givers.
Roxanne “Roxie” Guerra has served as a weekend Santee route volunteer at the East County Service Center every Saturday and picking up additional routes. for more than two decades.
Guerra said in the late 90s she went to visit her grandfather who lived in El Centro, and while there, Meals on Wheels delivered his meals, her first time hearing about the program.
“I was surprised, and it was a gift on how friendly the people were,” she said. “So, when I came back to San Diego, I looked up Meals on Wheels and I decided to volunteer. All because these nice people were helping my grandfather.”
Guerra said she took a short class on how the program works and began working in San Diego County, and when her son was older, he would ride and deliver with her.
“It was such a wonderful thing because the clients really enjoyed seeing kids helping out and they loved talking to him,” she said. “Then I moved over to Santee, and I have been doing this ever since. If they ever need my help, I have been able to help them out with the route I normally do. I have delivered meals in the Lakeside area. I enjoy it. I love it. I have met so many wonderful senior citizens through this. They love telling their story.”
Guerra said she remembers one lady who told her how she met her husband. How she came here from the Midwest during World War II working with building ships.
“Many different stories from all these seniors,” she said. “I think I have been blessed just by listening to their side of their stories. So many just wanted to bless me. My son stopped delivering with me as he got older, but I continued to do it and I will continue to do it for as long as I am able to.”
Guerra said she has talked to many people who ask her about her volunteer work with Meals on Wheels and she tells them about the process of volunteering, and how easy it is to do, as the organization is so organized in its deliveries, even before moving into GPS and digital management.
“Meeting these senior citizens is the biggest thing that I get out of delivering these meals,” she said. “The happiness it gives the person, at the end of the day or the end of my route. It is just a great program. I hope that God continues to bless me with a car to be able to drive and deliver these meals to them.”