How City Market Members Became Age Well Volunteers
Guest post by Tracey Shamberger, Age Well's Director of Public Relations and Business Development
City Market offers wonderful incentives and Co-op discounts to their members who give back to the community and volunteer for local organizations. City Market supports and promotes the opportunity to volunteer with their Community Outreach Partners.
Age Well, a nonprofit organization serving older Vermonters in Addison, Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle Counties, welcomes City Market volunteers with open arms!
As the leading experts and advocates for the aging population of Northwestern Vermont, Age Well believes that health happens at home and focuses on lifestyle, happiness, and wellness—not on age.
For over 40 years, Age Well has provided older Vermonters with the necessary support to manage their daily living needs, with the goal of keeping them active, healthy and independent. Erica Marks, Age Well’s Director of Volunteer Services is grateful for the support “We are able to provide these life-changing services largely due to our wonderful Volunteers”.
Age Well has served over 250,000 Meals on Wheels this past year, and without volunteers that would not have been possible. Currently Age Well is in need of volunteers in Burlington and Winooski to deliver Meals on Wheels and offer other services.
From everyone at Age Well, we are grateful for our partnership with City Market and the Co-op members who generously spend their time volunteering to serve older Vermonters.
If you are interested in volunteering and want to learn about the volunteer opportunities available, click here to visit the Volunteer page on Age Well’s website.
As an added bonus Members of City Market, Onion River Co-op receive a 7% discount for two hours of volunteer time and a 12% discount for four hours of volunteer time.
Hear from a few City Market members about why they choose Age Well and the impact it has had on them.
Nancy Kaplan – Volunteer since Dec 2020
Age Well distributes Meals on Wheels throughout Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, & Grand Isle counties five days a week. Some of our meal site pick-ups are a bit larger and we call them "hubs." Nancy is a hub greeter for South Burlington, and helps facilitate which meals go where.
Q: How did you begin volunteering with Age Well?
A: It was December of 2020, in the middle of COVID-19, I had been working from my house for a long time, and I just had to leave the house. I was looking for City Market member hours because even though I had been a member of City Market for twenty some-odd years, I don’t know why it never occurred to me to take advantage of getting a discount with the opportunity to volunteer. My husband has done some volunteer work with another organization last summer, and I was like, well what can I do? So, it was a combination of all of it, and Meals on Wheels was just a good fit for something I could do that was relatively COVID-19 safe. It has been really great.
Q: How did you choose to volunteer with Age Well?
A: I started the whole process by seeing on the City Market website, seeing where I could volunteer, what seemed like a good fit, what I could do in the winter, and that’s how I found Age Well.
Q: What has it been like to volunteer?
A: I’m a total people-person, and so for me, especially during COVID-19, it was a way of connecting. Now I have my routine and people I see every time I’m at the hub, where the Meals on Wheels drivers pick up the meals they need to deliver for the day. It turns out one of my old neighbors delivers and so I’ve reconnected with her, so that part has just been really lovely.
Q: What does volunteering do for you?
A: I think really that it’s about a few things. Volunteering is always about two things; it’s always about helping somebody else, but it’s also one hundred percent about helping yourself and making yourself feel connected or valued. As someone who is a people-person, for this particular thing, all of Meals on Wheels and volunteering is connecting with people around something they really need, and no pun intended, but it feeds me because I need human connection, and it feeds people.
I grew up in a family who always volunteered in one way or the other, and I have volunteered my entire adult life, but this is the first time I have ever done direct service volunteering. It really is different, the one-on-one, and especially during the pandemic, I went and delivered to the holiday inn and the comfort inn and suites, where people were living, and it was such an eye-opening experience. I also work in public health, so it really solidified all of it for me.
I have yet to meet a person who wasn’t willing to volunteer in some way, shape, or form.
Linda Cooper – Volunteer since Mar 2020
Q: How did you choose to volunteer with Age Well?
A: I have been a City Market member for many, many years. At the beginning of the pandemic, there wasn’t a lot to do and I was watching too many movies. I have been volunteering with Feeding Chittenden for many years, and I came across something about Age Well and that they needed volunteers. I contacted them and began the process of becoming a volunteer. I was very interested in getting more food out to people, so I became a Meals on Wheels driver. I have 12 people I deliver to right now.
Q: Have you made any connections with the people you deliver meals to?
A: One gentleman I deliver meals to always wants to talk my ear off. He’s just so funny because he always wants to talk and you can just tell he is so hungry for connection. He wants to talk about everything, and it’s such a different response from another person I deliver to, who I have never seen because we only talk through the door. People are very cautious and I can understand that as an older Vermonter myself. Delivering these meals is more than a meal, it’s caring, and the people receiving these meals are very appreciative.
Q: Why do you volunteer?
A: I love it volunteering. I’m seeing people, I’m not thinking about their age. They are people that need something; people that need food and I’m happy to get out to them. It’s very gratifying for me to give people really healthy food that I know was prepared carefully, so that feels really nice. It is a donation but it’s just feels like is was specially prepared for that person, so it feels like more than a donation. I especially enjoy doing that. I plan to keep continuing to volunteer as long as I can.
Q: What makes being a member worker so special?
A: It’s very nice that City Market gives us a discount for volunteering. I would go to City Market even if I didn’t get the discount because I love their organic products and wholesome foods. The connection is wonderful for me.
I also want to thank Age Well for all of the coordinating. It’s monumental keeping everything in order, between all of the different routes, meals being delivered, and keeping track of every person’s needs. It’s mindboggling. It is incredible and it’s in so many places, not just Burlington.