A Passion For Philanthropy
April 20, 2021: Lindsey Southwick has a passion for philanthropy. She’s volunteered around the City of Chicago for years, and since October 2018, has served as President of the Meals on Wheels Chicago Associate Board. In that role, she’s been able to work with MOWC to advance the goal of feeding seniors and individuals with disabilities, regardless of income.
“I’ve always been philanthropic,” Southwick said. “It’s a part of my nature—I need to be involved in helping others.”
Food security is a priority of Southwick—years prior to her involvement with Meals on Wheels Chicago, she worked in the service industry as a hostess, server and bartender, which then led to volunteering with the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
“Having a background in serving and helping people is probably where a lot of this stems from,” she said.
Southwick also has a personal connection with Meals on Wheels Chicago. Her grandfather passed away when she was seven years old, and he was still living independently at home.
“The memory that sticks out in my mind is going through his house and cleaning things, and going through the refrigerator seeing boxes that said ‘Meals on Wheels’ on them,” she said. “I asked my mom and she told me there are people just like my grandfather who rely solely on Meals on Wheels deliveries each week, not only for nourishment and food, but also for social interaction.”
The memory eventually lead to Southwick volunteering for the Associate Board of Meals on Wheels Chicago. She’s passionate about the mission to feed Chicago’s seniors, and sees that it’s more important than ever to provide equal access to food to all seniors.
“The mission itself and providing people with a basic—the biggest—necessity, especially during the current health crisis, is so important,” Southwick said. “Our mission is more important than it ever has been, to serve those we’ve already been serving and to keep up with new people who need the program, as well.”
Southwick finds volunteering with Meals on Wheels Chicago fulfilling and a worthy way to spend her time. From volunteering with Meals on Wheels Chicago to making donations to charities, philanthropy is central to who she is and how she approaches life. She recognizes, too, that others may want to get involved but are hesitant to do so, or question whether it would be right for them. For those people, Southwick has some advice.
“If you have that feeling that you want to get involved, then you should listen to your gut,” she said. “Because helping others—even one person—is so uplifting.”
Getting involved can give volunteers a sense of fulfillment and purpose, and above all, can make a difference in the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable people.
“It’s what we should be doing as a society,” Southwick said. “We need to come together… We’re only here for such a short time. If we have an opportunity to make a positive impact, why wouldn’t we?”
By Anne Bouleanu, Freelance Journalist and MOWC Contributor