VNA Meals on Wheels: Dallas, Texas
The Dallas Sai Center has participated in the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) Meals on Wheels for more than 25 years, delivering hot and cold meals every Friday to about 10-15 home-bound seniors. However, the delivery of meals on special holidays such as Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, has taken on a very special significance for the Sai Center, drawing the enthusiastic participation of several Center members.
On Christmas Day, Sai Center members take part in what has become known as the VNA Christmas Dock Service. About 130 Sai Center members volunteered this year. They arrived at 5 a.m. in morning to organize and stack coolers with hot and cold meals prepared by the VNA staff. They also organized the gifts to be delivered along with the meals.
In a quick all-hands meeting in the main hall, the VNA President thanked the Sai volunteers for their service on Christmas Day for the past 28 years. Volunteers were then briefed on the plan of action. Fortified against the cold by a sandwich, some cookies and a warm beverage, the volunteers headed to their respective stations, all smiles and eager for the first drivers to show up. As the initial delivery drivers arrived, they registered, received their route information, and drove to their respective loading zones, where they were lovingly greeted by Sai volunteers with a joyous, “Merry Christmas!” After a quick and efficient loading by smiling Sai volunteers, the drivers went on their way to deliver the meals and gifts to the seniors who eagerly awaited their arrival. This year nearly 4,000 meals were delivered by the VNA.
The VNA Christmas Dock Service has become a popular service activity for Center members, especially for the older Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) students who are excited and eager to participate. Even former SSE students and members who have moved away from Dallas, make it a point to attend the service when they come home to visit their families. The VNA Dock Service has become a very gratifying experience, as evidenced by these heartfelt reflections.
SSE Group 4 student (16 years and older) volunteer:
"Every year, on Christmas morning, more than any gifts under the tree, I find myself looking forward to the VNA Meals on Wheels Dock Service. For the past 4 years, I cannot imagine anything that brings me as much joy as this service project. I usually load coolers and gift bags into the volunteers’ trunks. However, this year, I was a part of the registration team, and got to greet the volunteers, give them holiday cards, and provide their route information to them. I was so inspired by the many incredibly kind people I met. The time spent is so gratifying when you think how, on Christmas day, hundreds, if not thousands, of seniors get to enjoy a hot meal. I love this project because I am able to create wonderful memories with my friends while making someone else’s Christmas brighter."
Young Adult volunteer:
"This service project on Christmas day is a powerful opportunity for us to give back to our community, and it serves as a great bonding experience for center members as well. We all form teams and work together with great camaraderie for a few hours on Christmas morning to spread holiday cheer to home-bound seniors of the Dallas community. I have participated in this service project for many years and always come back to it because it is such a fulfilling way to start Christmas day. Waking up early, spending the morning in any kind of weather (from sun to rain to sleet), and working to serve home-bound seniors is a rewarding experience on a holy day like Christmas. We always have so much fun at this service project and love it when new Center families join us. The VNA Christmas Dock Service truly brings our own Sai community together as we serve the larger community around us."
1 Please click here to see FOX4 news TV coverage of the Christmas Dock Service.
2 Please click here to see FOX4 news TV interview with members of the Dallas Sai Center.