When Paul Boles knocks on doors at the Maple Leaf apartments every Monday and Wednesday morning, he is greeted with smiles and hugs.
It’s easy to tell the 76-year-old Meals on Wheels volunteer is well-known and well-liked.
“Teddy boy! Holy cow, what’s all this noise?” Boles said as he opened the door to one of his deliveries. Sometimes the volunteer starts with a joke, other times he breaks out into song. But without fail, laughter can always be heard each time the volunteer steps into an apartment.
Many of the people Boles delivers to are homebound. The volunteer said fostering a connection with them is his favorite part of taking part in the program.
“You develop quite a friendship with these people. A lot of times we’re their only connection to the outside world,” Boles said.
“These meals are really secondary to this program for me because these people need somebody to just be there,” he added.
Boles began volunteering with the program after his wife’s death several years ago.
“It’s a program that filled a big void in my life,” he added.
The volunteer said he began delivering meals thinking those he helped would get the most out of the program but has since realized he has been impacted just as much, if not more.
“At first I thought I was going to bless these people by delivering meals to them, but wow, it turned out that I got blessed,” he said.
Boles said he’s excited to continue delivering meals and taking part of the program.
“All the volunteers for Meals on Wheels — they’re great, it’s not just me,” he said of everyone involved.
Most of all, Boles is looking forward to getting more hugs and laughs in.
“It’s so gratifying that you can make somebody’s day bigger than yours with something so simple,” he added.
– Ashley Duong