While most college students are hunkered down in the library studying for finals, members from the TCU Meals on Wheels Student Association and from TCU’s Word of Truth Ministries gospel choir gave out meals and presents to some of Southside’s homebound older adults on Friday, Dec. 10.
The TCU Meals on Wheels Association has two weekly routes on Thursdays and Fridays that provide clients with hot food.
The student association has 15 to 20 members. Eight students regularly go out on routes, Melissa Gruver, the association’s faculty head, said. Other students place phone calls that check in and give company to clients, Gruver said.
TCU’s gospel choir joined the Meals on Wheels Student Association as a holiday surprise for their weekly clients, Gruver said. The gospel choir sang Christmas carols such as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Joy to the World,” and “Gloria.”
“It’s funny to bring new people on routes with us because it takes them time to get into a groove,” Gruver said referring to the gospel choir.
After a few tries, the van was a running like a well-oiled machine with all the students working together to organize each meal and Christmas present that corresponded with each client.
Clarissa Rodriguez who normally goes on the Friday route was the group leader for the day. She showed the choir how to interpret the route sheet that gives the name, address and meal of each client on the route. “I enjoy visiting the elderly”, Rodriguez said. “I look forward to it every Friday. It is my escape from school work.” Rodriguez, like a seasoned veteran, can tell a story about every person on the route.
Clients are given a sheet to fill out so that they have a choice of food that is prepared and picked up by students from members of the University United Methodist Church on Berry Street.
As the students walked up, the choir began to sing, and most clients reacted the same way. The clients looked surprised and delighted, according to Tiara Hutton, a gospel choir member.
According to Gruver, one of the goals of the Meals on Wheels Student Association is to preserve dignity of the clients. They are allowed to contribute to their meals but are not turned away if they cannot.
Sandra Bailey, the first person on the route, answered the door in tears and said, “It’s just so nice to have somebody that cares about me who I don’t even know…it’s a really nice thing you are doing.”
Jackie Goyne, “the client who’s just like your grandma” according to Gruver, invited the whole group into her home.
Goyne has a sister close to death and will be the only one of ten children left when her sister dies. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, but you all brought me so much joy today,” Goyne said. “I feel so blessed.”
Hutton said the Meals on Wheels Student Association has made her thankful. “The whole thing teaches you to be grateful for everything, and just to enjoy the little things in life,” Hutton said.