Interviews by Chris Aaby, Colorado Springs regional council member, and Nataliya Burdeynyuk, Colorado Springs distribution and volunteer assistant
What does it mean to be a Project Angel Heart volunteer? For these volunteers in Colorado Springs, who deliver nutritious meals to the homes of folks facing life-threatening illness, it means bettering the community, caring for neighbors who need food as medicine, and being a part of something bigger than themselves.
“Our reward is when we take turns. One [of us] drives and the other one goes up to the door, and we switch off or sometimes we both go to the door. It’s so rewarding seeing the look on their faces and how appreciative they are.
We’re such a small piece of the whole process. It makes us feel good inside, and it did help us to go out to Denver the other day and actually be on the line scooping food into the trays with all the other [kitchen volunteers]… a lot of logistics. It’s amazing.”
“It’s important to instill in [my daughter] the importance of doing this for the community. We have been volunteering for over a year now, and Lydia still gets excited each time I tell her we will be delivering! And it means a lot to me to be able to have this opportunity and to have people and projects and agencies that are doing this for people.
Food is medicine and community is medicine. Building that infrastructure and knowing that you’re bettering your community to help other people and then therefore yourself and your children… that’s really important.”
“I learned about [Project Angel Heart] and the valuable service that it provides to people in our community that are in need through Leadership Pikes Peak. Those with chronic illnesses, they can’t either get to the store or prepare their own meals, really need support and the help of Project Angel Heart. The thought of food as medicine, it is a really big deal.
We’re actually going through an illness in our family- my wife’s mother has recently been diagnosed with a chronic illness. We’re fortunate that we have a good support system so we can provide what she needs. But if you’re in a position where you couldn’t, like many of the people we see on the deliveries, I don’t know what would happen.
The unique thing about Project Angel Heart and the community it serves is that it’s one of those things that unless you hear about something like this, you just go about your daily life and you don’t think about people that are in a position where they can’t prepare their own meals. Volunteering for Project Angel Heart is all about them. It’s all about making sure that we get the proper nutrition and proper meals to the folks that really need it.”