For many decades our family has been involved in service activities both in India and in the USA, experiencing personally the satisfaction, peace, and happiness that volunteer projects can bestow on us, and also to sow in our children and grandchildren the seeds of a life of service and compassion. A personal activity I have been blessed to volunteer for is delivering hot lunches to seniors.

Around 1993, I came across an ad in the local Lansing, Michigan, newspaper that stated the Tri-County Office on Aging (TCOA) was in need of volunteers for their meals-on-wheels program, to deliver lunches to seniors in our area. Service opportunities, especially in the U.S., do not generally fall into one’s lap, but the Lord found me one. I contacted the TCOA authorities and was called to attend an orientation. I became aware of the living conditions of these seniors; the volunteers delivering the meals could be the only human contact they have on any given day.

I was employed at the time I took up this service endeavor but found time during my lunch break between 12 and 1 pm to deliver the meals. As my job entailed out-of-town travel, at times I called on other Sai volunteers to fill in for me, which worked out well. The obstacles were not insurmountable. For the past 20 years, I have continued once a month to deliver hot meals to seniors. Upon my request, the coordinator calls me to fill in if another volunteer is unable to deliver.

Serve others, for they are reflections of the same entity of which you yourself are another reflection. Always feel kinship with all creation. For realizing the one, the Absolute, Which personalizes into God and creation, there is no discipline more valuable and more effective than service.

Sathya Sai Baba, Seva: A flower at his feet, p. 28

This service has provided me with more happiness than the recipients. The lonely seniors have not only welcomed the warm meals but felt very happy to see someone with a smile who is interested in their well-being. I have found this service to be more gratifying than my former employment that brought food to our table. It never felt like a chore, it was something I looked forward to. That is why, twenty years later, I still am just as enthusiastic as I was when I began. Since I drive the same route every time and deliver meals to the same group of people, there is an unspoken bond and connectedness between me and these individuals. If I see a name missing for whatever reason, from my delivery list, I start worrying about their wellbeing. I wonder if they are passed on and if they had a relatively easy passing. But I cannot know for I do not have a direct contact with their biological families. But the personal touch and connection I have with these people, and the happiness they show in their smile upon my arrival, definitely makes me feel and understand that I belong in their World and they in mine. Our paths have crossed and our lives are enriched because of that. This is an undeniable Truth.

Writing this article I cannot help but remember the 83 years old, legally blind man I used deliver meals to. He always knew of my arrival as soon as I pulled my car up his drive way and would come to the door to greet me even before I made it to his front door. On this particular day he did not open the door as I drove in. My heart started racing. I took the lunch package to the door preparing myself for the worse. A young couple opened the door and asked me if I was Mr. Mohan. I said yes, resisting the urge to barge in and see for myself what had become of my dear old friend.  "My father passed away this morning Sir and he had told us about you" said the daughter. I was saddened by the news, but the fact that he remembered to mention my name made me realize how much my visits meant to him. I was part of his World! This experience left me touched. I understood how precious the gift of the human connectedness is, no matter how small and insignificant it may appear. I also understood that the pain of loneliness hurts people more than the pain of hunger.

This journey of service has been a great blessing in my life. It has taught me lessons of humility, appreciation, gratitude, compassion, and unity - our inter-connectedness. It is my resolve that I continue this service as long as I have strength and the ability to drive. Only by Divine grace does one's heart open to such an opportunity to love and serve one’s fellow men!

Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. 

                                                  ~ Mother Theresa