Seniors Helping Seniors: Making a Difference Through Meals on Wheels


Here is a video and a story of seniors helping seniors that will touch your heart.

Carroll Alsobrook and her husband, Duane Alsobrook, 77, get into the same 1990 GMC truck that once took the pair into the Smoky Mountains, where they would hike seven miles up to its third-highest peak, Mount LeConte, and then hike back down the next day to deliver Meals on Wheels to seniors.

Twice a month, they load up with hot and frozen meals they take to elderly seniors too sick or disabled to cook. Carroll does the driving, and Duane climbs in and out of the truck to bring food to approximately 20 people each month.

Stepping in and out of the truck can be taxing, especially for someone like Duane, who’s done this for more than a decade–and who is older than some of the people he delivers to.

He doesn’t mind.

“I had retired, and it (being a Meals on Wheels volunteer) was something that I had thought about for a long time,” said Duane Alsobrook. Apparently one of his friends, Dick Suddath, who is 92, delivered meals himself up until six months ago and had originally talked Alsobrook into it.

“Everybody in our church that’s senior is doing this. But I don’t know why.”

“Most of the volunteers are seniors,” said the 82-year-old program coordinator. “They can feel every bit of emotion that these people (the meal recipients) are feeling. Many of them don’t have family close by, and they just aren’t able to fix food on their own.” Here seniors are helping seniors in a way that helps them all.

Alsobrook has been connecting with the people for some time. Among them are folks such as 75-year-old Effie Bell.

Her house, a ramshackle, faded cream-colored wood house off St. Augustine Road, was the first of seven stops he made recently. Alsobrook unloaded a covered meal of Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, green beans and a slice of bread. A cup of applesauce, carton of orange juice and copy of the Times-Union also came with it. “I can say this, it’s a big help,” Bell said. “Sometimes I’m not able to get around too well to cook, but everybody who comes by is nice and friendly.”

Alsobrook says that volunteer seniors wind up helping in more ways than just delivering meals. They may lend a hand with other things such as changing a light bulb, bringing in the mail or taking out the trash. One lady, he said, is so addled by diabetes that she can barely come to the door.

So he often winds up coming in and putting the meal on the table for her.

Alsobrook’s kindness, it seems, is appreciated.

“He’s a fine young man,” said Evelyn Joiner, a former nurse who lives off Emerson Avenue and uses a walker. Asked her age, she said she’s “not too old and not too young.”

“If he can do anything for you, he will,” said Joiner, who looks forward to the chicken and rice meals.

Article adapted from: author Tonyaa Weathersbee,