Upon entering Hope and Ethel’s space, you can certainly tell they have a community of friends and family around them; A few family members were hanging around in the kitchen, the in-home caretaker named Shirly was helping with Ethel, and a meal delivery from Jesus was sitting on the front table. Although Hope has only received meals for a couple of weeks, Ethel joined the Home Delivered Meals program about 4 years ago. The two have lived together for 31 years, and as they both adapt to aging, Hope expresses her gratitude for Meals on Wheels, “It’s a good thing we both have home delivered meals, because after my hands gave out and it gets harder for family to get here and cook, we don’t have to worry about what we will eat or how we will grocery shop, especially living on a fixed income. It alleviates pressure on us and our family.”
Ethel is 72 and Hope is 65. Ethel had an aneurism in 1976 and has since required care-taking. After her mother passed in 1988, Hope moved in with her sister.
Before Ethel had an aneurysm, she was finishing up Law School and working as a supervisor at the Chicago Housing Authority. Before Hope started taking care of Ethel, she worked as a Senior Clerk for the Board of Health. “We are two peas in a pod and it’s truly a blessing we are getting older together. It’s not too many people that survive the type of surgery Ethel had and it’s not too many people that have the support we have.” Home delivered meals provide food security and nourishment for Hope and Ethel, but Ethel was not shy about sharing that her sister can cook better. Every Sunday family and friends would gather at their home for Hope’s cooking. “I used to cook until my hand gave out. But when I did, the building management would be over here, and I would be getting calls from people asking what I’m cooking today. I can’t cook now like I used to, but I’m sure going to assist. Do it my way or get out the kitchen.”
Hope and Ethel know when to expect their Meals on Wheels delivery each day and they know exactly who will deliver it – their friend Jesus. “He was already here today, that’s my boy! He hurt himself one time and I didn’t get to see him. When he came back, I told him don’t let it happen again. I am always glad to see him.” Before Jesus started delivering meals to Hope and Ethel, his father delivered their meals. Over the years, the four of them have established quite the friendship.