This Thanksgiving marks the 30th year of meal delivery for Meals on Wheels Chicago. That day we delivered meals to 1,218 homebound seniors. Meals on Wheels Chicago’s public-private partnership with the City of Chicago has grown since then, and together we now provide more than 2.4 million meals to Chicago’s homebound seniors and people with disabilities each year.
To mark this milestone, we are featuring 30 stories of the faces of Meals on Wheels Chicago. These are both the stories of the people that benefit from the meals, and the generous people and organizations that make it possible.
To kick of this series, meet Giuseppina. “When you are my age, every day something else falls off and every day you are just trying to hold on to what’s left. When I was fifteen, I had nice, strong teeth. Now, most of them are gone. That’s why Meals on Wheels Chicago is so important me.”
Giuseppina was born in Lucca, Tuscany. She is a surprisingly sprightly 84-year-old with a warm smile and an open invitation for visitors to come and chat. In 1970, Giuseppina, her husband, Enzo, and their young son immigrated to the United States in search of a better life. Here, they welcomed a daughter, and Giuseppina and Enzo found good jobs. They purchased a home with a garden and pear trees. “I used to grow vegetables and can the pears. Now the garden is overgrown and the birds take the pears.”
Two years ago, Enzo passed away, and her son developed back problems that made it hard for him to help her. Her daughter has children to tend to. “They have their lives and I don’t want to be a burden.” Because of her dental issues, Giuseppina requires a special diet, but the protein shakes her doctors prescribed upset her stomach. She started receiving home-delivered meals, and that allowed her to eat well and stay in the home she built with Enzo.
“I can’t go to the grocery store anymore, and I can’t cook for myself. Without Meals on Wheels, I don’t know what I would do. Every day that Calvin visits me, I remember I am not alone. God bless all the generous people who give to Meals on Wheels Chicago. You will never know how much good you are doing.”