Delivering meals to elderly citizens was all in a day’s work for senior administrators at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), on April 19.
The University’s executive leaders participated in the Elder Care Services, Inc. “Big Wheels Deliver Meals” event in an effort to further demonstrate FAMU’s commitment to supporting the growth and development of communities.
As a part of the event’s set-up, local executives and dignitaries were paired off and assigned specific routes to distribute meals. President Elmira Mangum, Ph.D. and Tallahassee Commissioner, Scott Maddox, teamed up to make the rounds in their designated area.
Mangum said the opportunity to provide meals and engage in meaningful and uplifting conversation were the reasons she was so thrilled to participate in the annual event.
“I look forward to talking to and meeting the elderly citizens in the community because the time we spend with them is really important,” Mangum said. “Getting to know them and the excitement we bring to them is important to us as a leadership team at FAMU,” she added.
Mark Baldino, President of Elder Care Services, Inc. said he is extremely appreciative of the support received from members of the local area and particularly representatives of the FAMU community.
“We have a lot of support and that’s what makes this organization so successful. We all know about the problems in our community. But if there is any community that I’ve ever been associated with that can figure out how to fix things, it’s Tallahassee,” Baldino said.
Elder Care Services, Inc., collaborates with local, state, and federal agencies, for-profit and non-profit organizations, local schools and universities, and foundations to find resources and solutions for unmet needs in Tallahassee. Each year more than 5,000 seniors and their families receive help from the organization.
Tallahassee Mayor and FAMU alumnus, Andrew Gillum, said a sustained focus on enhancing services, particularly as they pertain to the elderly are extremely important. He too shared Mangum’s sentiment regarding previous conversations he has had with elderly residents while delivering meals.
“You go up to these homes and sometimes you may be the only full conversation they have that day,” Gillum said. “In some cases you may get a grandmother telling you about her grandchild, and in another case you may get a citizen that’s been meaning to tell you about that pothole, who now has your undivided attention and is going to let you know exactly what is on their mind,” he added.
After receiving a meal from President Mangum and Commissioner Maddox, Dorothy Wilson expressed her appreciation for the assistance and support she regularly receives as a customer of the program.
“I’ve been in and out of the hospital and I wasn’t able to do things for myself, so it means a lot when someone does something for you,” Wilson said. “The people from “Meals on Wheels” come out and they talk with me and it is really nice,” she added.
Prior to disbursing the executive teams along their routes, Baldino expressed his gratitude and emphasized the positive mark their participation leaves with the Elder Care Services organization and the citizens they would soon serve.
“When you show up, what a smile you put on their faces. When they see somebody of your stature in the community show up to deliver a meal, it’s so exciting.”