Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) What started as a small act of kindness during the COVID-19 restrictions has grown to be so much more.
Ray Draeger, Deacon at Sacred Heart and Corpus Christi parishes, and a volunteer crew have been delivering about 20 restaurant meals to elderly shut-ins each week. Their efforts began when Draeger and his wife decided to donate a few meals a few weeks ago to both brighten the day of those isolated by the pandemic and to support local businesses at the same time.
As closures and social distancing restrictions began, Draeger was unable to carry out his usual visits to homebound parishioners, nursing homes, and hospitals. He turned to calling parishioners daily as the next best option.
“The ones in the nursing homes and assisted living facilities, they have meals. But when I would speak to the other shut-ins, the two things they missed the most were going to church and seeing friends there, and the second was going out to eat,” he said.
The Draegers were connected with restaurant Melody Gardens, which had been given money by patrons to provide meals for such a purpose. That first weekend, the couple delivered 10 meals.
Others stepped forward to volunteer as drivers and provide donations. Nominations for meal deliveries were opened up to the wider community for those shut-ins who do not already receive a meal service. The crew is now up to providing 20 meals a week from various local restaurants, thanks to donations.
Last Friday, the “Marshfield Covid Compassionate Care Crew” delivered fish fry meals from Marshfield Family Restaurant along with Nasonville Dairy Cheese provided through Auburndale FFA’s initiative to support dairy farmers. This week, the crew delivered pot roast meals from Perkins with pie and flower bouquets Draeger’s neighbors generously allowed him to pick.
The meal deliveries have gone over well. “It’s amazing just to see the smile on their face,” Draeger said. “The whole goal is to reduce social isolation and to have a special treat because they’re already sheltered in place.”
He plans to continue the service throughout the governor’s Safer at Home order. “As long as there’s donations and volunteers, we’ll keep it moving forward and share a little kindness,” he said.
To donate, volunteer, or nominate someone to receive a meal, email Draeger at [email protected]