Soulard Meal Distribution to the Elderly: St. Louis, MO
Members from the Sri Sathya Sai Center of Greater St. Louis, MO meet regularly on the first and third Saturdays each month to prepare and distribute meals to the elderly residents of two communities in the Soulard neighborhood near downtown St. Louis.
Through dedication and commitment, Sai volunteers have steadily maintained this service activity for over three decades now. On the day of the service, a few of the Sai Center members are up bright and early in the morning to prepare warm trays of delicious pasta along with corn and mixed vegetables. The trays of freshly cooked food are then delivered to the Sri Sathya Sai Center of Greater St. Louis where another team eagerly arrives at 8 a.m. to pack them into fifty food containers. The food containers are placed in brown paper bags along with juice, fruits and non-perishable food items such as cereal, crackers, cookies, juice, and cookies.
The delivery team of about six volunteers distributes the packed meal bags to Soulard residents who have signed up for the meal delivery service, many of whom are elderly or disabled.
One of the volunteers believes the service activity has benefited him spiritually. “It feels like my desire to help others has just grown and my heart has expanded with love. I have also learned how to be patiently attentive to the needs of the elderly while serving them. Many residents are not just appreciative of receiving the food packs, but also our visit.”
Another volunteer reflected that many of the elderly are lonely. Hence, these visits by the volunteers mean as much to them as the food they receive. Indeed, a volunteer expressed that in return for delivering a small bag of food, the joy they receive in those moments of connection with the elderly is tenfold – the beaming faces of the elderly, their warm hugs and the many “God Bless you” they lovingly shower upon the volunteers.