Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Meals and Wheels volunteer serves up friendship

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TWC News: Meals and Wheels volunteer serves up friendship
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For James Hart, calling out numbers is more like calling out a list of friends. The former mailman has been a Meals on Wheels volunteer has been driving food to the homebound in East Austin since 2005.

On Fridays, he packs meals for other volunteers.

"What's really nice is you get to meet so many of the volunteer drivers, they've got interesting stories too about how they came about,” Hart said. "You just have to get to them as fast as you can, you don't want to delay them any more than you have to and some of their routes are fairly long."

Some Meals on Wheels drivers have up to 13 stops, and about 150 drivers pick up meals between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Hart says getting to know his homebound clients is the best part. He lost one of his favorites two years ago.

"I would always spend time talking to her and when her son passed away, I was there to grieve with her," he said.

Hart says forming that relationship is the ultimate reward.

"You can't walk away from doing this. If someone wants to volunteer, if they took the time to do it for awhile, they'd find that they really enjoy it," he said. "It's just making life better for people. To me that is a gift that they're giving me, not so much me giving them anything, it's them giving me."

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