Mary N. has almost reached her 99th birthday! Mary was taking care of her grandchildren and orchard garden until she was 75. She finally had to give up driving at age 92. Mary was born to Czechoslovakian immigrants in Rush Center, Kansas and all of her family were farmers. Mary’s family moved to Oakland in 1925 and she is a 1934 graduate of Castlemont High School. Mary lives in the same home that her husband built. Her sons, who live in Livermore and Placerville, call daily, and visit a few times a week. Meals on Wheels began to deliver to Mary last year, to supplement the meals her son and daughter also prepare. She enjoys her regular driver, who takes time to visit when she can. The food, she says, is good, nutritious, and well presented.Mary N.
Life changed in 2006 when Julius had a stroke. He worked hard to recover and was able to return home on New Year's Day 2007, but quickly discovered that he couldn't drive safely any more. He took many driving lessons but twice failed to pass the test—that was the beginning of a new way of living for Julius. Friends and neighbors have helped tremendously, but he soon realized that he needed regular food. Julius came to terms that it was no longer safe for him to be using the kitchen as a stroke victim, so, he enrolled in Meals on Wheels in 2007. He enjoys the variety of food, likes his drivers, and feels that the monthly fee is very worth it; as without this service he could not stay in his home.Julius G.
Ms. H is a 92 year old resident of Oakland. Originally from Louisiana, she moved to Oakland with her husband in the late 1940’s. She has lived in her own home for nearly 50 years and has been a widow for 21 years. Ms. H was nearly 90 years old when she began receiving Meals on Wheels. She was no longer driving, and not eating as well as she should. Ms. H is happy that she is now able to receive a daily meal. She “likes the variety of the food and the soup especially. My drivers have all been polite and very nice.” Ms. Hayes is grateful for Meals on Wheels for herself and on behalf of “people who can’t help themselves and no longer can do their own cooking.”Ms. Earnestine H.
The lovely San Lorenzo couple, married 75 years, were born 102 and 98 years ago! They are independent, living on their own in their home of 64 years, and clearly, they are still in love. At Charles’ 100th birthday celebration, there were over 100 guests who celebrated his life and their marriage. Today, three years later, they are thankful to still be in their home, and attribute much of that to Meals On Wheels, which they heard about from their daughter-in-law who is a volunteer for the organization in Fremont. As Charles said, “We wouldn’t be in our home if it were not for the meals we receive 4-5 times a week.”Charles & Maude S.
94-year-old Milton W. is an Oakland, CA native living in the home that he helped build with his own hands. Mr. W's long career includes a time in the Civilian Conservation Corps, where he became a Journeyman Machinist at the age of 20 and was one of the first black men to work in a machine shop. During the war Milton was drafted into the Navy, where he completed his service at the Alameda Naval Air Base as an aviation machinist. Soon after the war, upon passing the exam for being a firefighter, Milton joined the only black firehouse in Oakland. Segregation was strongly in place, and integration had not yet happened. Until 1952 that is, when Milton applied for, and with the help of the NAACP, became the first black man to work at a white-only fire station. He managed to remain there for two years, but the pressure was finally too much and he returned to the black firehouse, where integration had begun and he remembers a very different attitude towards the white men who eventually joined the team. Family had always been his support, and he worked hard to raise his children. Now, he enjoys the fruits of his labor as his family is mostly close by and keep an eye on him. Milton began receiving Meals On Wheels deliveries about eight years ago and finds life much more pleasant and easier because of it. He has a special relation with his drivers and even displays their picture alongside his family photos. “The meals are good and the drivers so very nice and caring,” he said with a smile. “It helps me continue to live in the home I helped build myself.”Milton W.
Both Arthur, 90, and Dorothy, 89, are Bay Area natives born in Oakland. They recently celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary and have 7 grandchildren and 4 great-grands. Photos of their family surround the couple in their comfortable Hayward home of over 60 years. Because Dorothy is weaker than she used to be and cooking makes her tired, Meals on Wheels has been delivering food to them for a year or so now, and they are thankful for the drivers, all of whom are gracious and friendly, and for the good taste of the food. Dorothy says that with raising 6 children, “I spent the majority of my adult life shopping and cooking. Since cooking has become difficult for me, I am grateful that I can still have a healthy meal.” Arthur passed away earlier this year.Arthur & Dorothy C.