Robert U. Montgomery

Nourishing the Soul

My New Book to Benefit Meals on Wheels and Senior Centers

The value of the national Meals on Wheels program transcends delivering meals to home-bound recipients. In
Nourishing the Soul--- the Real Value of Meals on Wheels, author Robert U. Montgomery documents how it improves life emotionally, spiritually, and even physically for volunteers, as well as recipients.

Front cover NTS copy

Ninety-five-year-old volunteer Dorothy Gouin provided the inspiration for this book, and she is profiled in Part I. "Some might say she’s a legacy," said Cher Robinson, director of the center where Dorothy volunteers. "She’s been here approximately 19 years, helping, guiding, teaching, listening, and most of all loving all who have met her. I believe Dorothy is an angel."

The second part uses stories and experiences from volunteers and meal recipients to reveal how the value of the program extends far beyond delivery of food. "It is an honor and privilege to be part of this great program," said one volunteer. "Everyone needs that human contact, and it's a really great feeling to do this for them. It fills our hearts with appreciation, gratitude, compassion, and, sometimes, even love."

Research reveals volunteering and random acts of kindness of most any kind stimulate the same pleasure centers of the brain associated with food and sex. In other words, helping others provides a natural high. And a meal recipient shared this:

"What can I say? So many times the volunteers are the only human contact I have for weeks. The meals mean more than you can ever know. This program and the volunteers are a great blessing and so is the information that you provide for other programs, such as the pet food pantry. Thank you to each and every one for what you do."

In fact, 59 percent of home-delivered meal recipients live alone. Nine out 10 added that the meals help them feel more secure and live independently.

The third part is about the often-unappreciated senior centers, where meals are prepared, and the valuable resources that they provide for their communities. Unfortunately, many people mistakenly believe that they are only for "poor people." In fact, the centers are multi-purpose gathering places for seniors of all income brackets. Yes, they provide meals, but they also assist with health needs and questions and tax concerns. They offer educational programs and recreational opportunities. They play host to and/or sponsor fun-filled events as fundraisers.

Montgomery hopes that this book will inspire more people to volunteer and, by so doing, improve their own lives while helping others. And he hopes that it will encourage more seniors to visit their local centers for food, fun, and friendship. All proceeds from this book will go to benefit the Meals on Wheels programs in Bonne Terre and Park Hills, MO.

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