Langley’s Peggy Schafer is the perfect example of a dedicated volunteer.
She’s spent the last 40 years of her life delivering food to Langley Meals on Wheels recipients, and the now 95-year-old delivered her final meal at the end of December.
Schafer called her retirement from Meals on Wheels “bittersweet.”
“I’m glad because I know it’s the right thing to do. I’ve felt that for a few months now. But I’ve really enjoyed it so I know I’ll miss it.”
The decision to retire came because Schafer is “running out of energy.”
“I want to feel that I’m safe doing it with the driving part. I’m still driving so I think maybe I’ll quit while I’m ahead. I want to be safe in every area.”
Forty years ago, Meals on Wheels was just starting up and looking for drivers in Langley, explained Schafer. So she responded to the call and committed to delivering meals once a week.
“I love doing it. I enjoy meeting people and doing something that’s helpful to them. I’ve met some very lovely people over the years,” added Schafer.
“Most of them thank me pretty well every time. And the meals in recent days have been very, very good meals.”
Schafer said “for sure,” she’d use Meals on Wheels services if needed in the future.
Langley Meals on Wheels executive director Shannon Woykin, said Schafer has been the longest Meals on Wheels volunteer in Langley.
“She was with Meals on Wheels from the start. She is kind, and always has a gentle manner to her.”
And Meals on Wheels volunteers provide more than just a nutritious meal, explained Woykin.
“Our volunteers are the eyes and ears of the community. When they go once a week to a clients home they can detect different issues and that helps us then connect them to the right resources. We are that safety check, but we are also that social connection.”
Schafer can confirm that volunteers are often first responders, as she’s had various encounters when she’s had to call an ambulance–once for a client who was non-responsive, and another who had had a stroke.
“You’re glad you’re there at the right times,” said Schafer.
On her last delivery in December, Schafer delivered a meal to Inga McKinnon, who has been receiving Meals on Wheels for two years.
“I don’t have to cook and that’s wonderful. I’m sorry she’s [Schafer] leaving, but she has to. She’s done her duty,” said McKinnon.
Into her retirement, Schafer plans to continue volunteering at Christian Life Assembly church and finding other volunteer activities that are “less time consuming,” although she recommends Meals on Wheels for others looking to volunteer.
“If you like people and you like driving, it’s a perfect fit.”
Woykin added that volunteering with Meals on Wheels is “a great environment” and is a good way to “make a difference in the community.”
Those looking to volunteer are asked to call Meals on Wheels at 604-533-1679 or go to the office at 20414 Douglas Cres. to pick up a volunteer application.