The mission of the SCV Senior Center is to promote quality of life for seniors, which the facility does in many ways. On top of classes, adult day programs of all kinds, trips and more, there is a reliable food delivery system.
Tom Hartmann of Sand Canyon has been giving back for a very long time, but when he retired from Lockheed Martin where he was a program director a few years ago, he decided he wanted to do more. While he and his wife, Jackie, have been active in non-profits for years, he decided to go to the next level at the SCV Senior Center.
He literally walked in the front door and asked how he could help.
“They asked me, ‘Can I help you?’ And I said, ‘The better question is How can I help you?’” Hartmann said.
He was directed to the kitchen and they made him a driver.
“The Senior Center has been so welcoming,” he said. “They clearly appreciate the volunteers and they also appreciate the seniors there. It’s just a collegial atmosphere.”
He has two regular routes and delivers mid-day meals two days a week on a regular basis. He takes on a third if they need it.
There are a total of 10 meal delivery routes from the Center. Typically drivers start as back-ups and fill-ins, Hartmann said, and he got a regular route within a few weeks.
“It’s very flexible and easy,” said Hartmann, who has lived in Canyon Country for nearly 30 years. “There’s a range of times you can show up. The routes change a little bit during the day, but for the most part, they’re pretty consistent, so you get to know the people on the route.”
The interaction with people is what makes it worthwhile to Hartmann.
“Nearly all of them are face-to-face contacts,” he said. “Sometimes a person is bed-bound, in which case we’ll go leave it for them.”
On one occasion, Hartmann delivered to a woman who was in distress and needed medical help.
“I try to at least have a short conversation, and nearly all the time that’s very much appreciated,” he said. “A lot of these people spend a lot of time by themselves. We’re advised that we may be the only person they see all day.”
The Senior Center has a kitchen where meals are prepared, and they are usually packed and ready to go, or close to being ready to go, when drivers arrive.
“When they move to a new facility early next year there will be more room in the kitchen to make more meals,” Hartmann said. “I could see the program expanding.”
If you’re interested in becoming a driver, chances are there’s an opportunity.
“You can call or just walk in like I did,” Hartmann said. “They take you out on an orientation drive … then you take a second drive and at that point you see if this is something you want to do. … I know you’ve heard it before, but it’s true – I get more out of it than I put into it.”
To get involved, contact the SCV Senior Center volunteer and recreation coordinator Robin Clough at 661-259-9444.