Giants’ Charlie Hayes Really Delivers
by Judy Vaughn –
Not everybody has time to deliver hot meals to homebound seniors in San Francisco. If you’re too busy to volunteer daily, if you work downtown and can’t get away, even if you’re on the road playing baseball like S. F. Giants infielder Charlie Hayes–The Salvation Army invites you to adopt a grandparent. The Army has expanded its Meals That Heal Program to include friendly visits, birthday cards and phone calls to frail or lonely elderly who may have outlived family and friends.
To illustrate, Hayes visited recently with three seniors who depend on the Army to deliver a meal daily. Each was a baseball fan–one with a weak heart, arthritis and throat cancer; one paralyzed on his left side; one with poor balance, epileptic seizures and a fear of being in public alone.
Besides delivering their meals, Hayes talked baseball scores and statistics and promised to keep in touch. Was he surprised by how they lived? “No, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth,” he said. “I know how things are. I did, however, manage to convert a Yankees fan to the Giants!”
The idea for expanding the meal program began with volunteers from Miller Freeman Publishing. For over a year, the company has sponsored a team of volunteers who rotate regular runs of hot midday meals to seniors in the Tenderloin district. Over the months, friendships have developed, and at Christmas volunteers brought personalized gifts. The extra outreach, no matter how small, meant so much to seniors that the Army is now looking for new volunteers to help throughout the year.
Meals That Heal is part of The Salvation Army’s Senior Meals and Services Program, which serves 125,000 meals annually to seniors in San Francisco.