Featured Volunteer

Featured Volunteer

Tom Rylander

Tom Rylander

Like many people, Tom always knew about Meals on Wheels but became directly involved after learning more about the program at a local fundraiser. He and his wife felt strongly about our mission of providing seniors with a nutritious meal to help them age safely in place and became regular donors to the program. Not satisfied at that, Tom was referred to SOS/Meals on Wheels which serves seniors in the city in which he resides, Castro Valley. At that time, SOS was located on the border of Castro Valley and Hayward and Tom just happened to come onboard at the inception of our volunteer driver program in 2009. Volunteer drivers have come and gone, but Tom is one of a small handful of volunteer drivers that remain as part of the original group. Three days a week, Tom pulls up to SOS in his faithful Nissan Frontier we affectionately dubbed “Trusty” and loads up his truck with the day’s deliveries. He runs a route in the A St. area of Hayward on Wednesdays and Fridays and treks out to South Hayward to deliver on Thursdays. He has also covered so many other routes over the years that he knows every Central Alameda County volunteer routes and so in turn knows a good portion of our program’s 1,200 meal recipients! Always willing to lend a helping hand, Tom has frequently taken it upon himself to go back to a meal recipient’s home to take them out on errands or help them clean up and organize. He enjoys making their lives a bit easier and says yes to all. And it doesn’t stop at helping the clients. In addition to using his own gas money and enduring wear and tear on Trusty, Tom is a consistent donor to our program. When Tom noticed the coolers that the meals are packed in were becoming old and worn, he took it upon himself to order a dozen and picked up the tab. When Tom learned there was a shortage of ice to pack in the coolers, he offered to buy more. Tom has even returned to SOS after a day’s deliveries, suited up in coveralls and proceeded to clean our vents to prepare for an inspection. We credit his experience with keeping things running smoothly at AT& T as Maintenance Supervisor for 30+ years! Tom, thank you for the hundreds of hours, the thousands of miles, the countless favors you’ve done for SOS. You are truly a beloved “Volunteer Extraordinaire”.