A Song with Each Meal
A Song With Each Meal
[Photo courtesy of Senior Services]
Across the region, more than 30 community service agencies receive funding through the Home and Community Care Block Grant to provide services to assist older adults to maintain their independence. These services go far beyond just a meal, transportation, or assistance at home. For the clients, they provide human connection that the older adults may not otherwise receive. One volunteer with the Meals-on-Wheels program at Senior Services in Forsyth County took the words "more than a meal" to a whole new level when she decided to deliver a song along with each meal.
Grace Pfleger volunteered with the Meals-on-Wheels program at Senior Services during her first year of college at UNC School of the Arts (UNCSA). Every Thursday morning, Grace woke up at 7:30 and headed over to Senior Services where she would meet up with other volunteers in the Meals-on-Wheels pick up room. Together they drove out to an apartment complex to deliver meals. Grace, with her portable boom box put the training she received at the School of the Arts to good use. She sang a song for each recipient, choosing from a variety of music each week, from Michael Jackson to classical opera. She was a hit - the seniors on her route could not get enough of Grace's voice!
For Grace, this opportunity was "an answer to a calling." Since the beginning of her time at the School of the Arts, she said that she had been looking for a way to combine her two loves - music and helping elders. Music, she said, is so much more than just entertainment, it is a healing art. Likewise, she wanted to do more than just perform. "Doing this just makes my life. I feel like I have purpose, something to wake up to every morning."
Inspired by her Meals-on-Wheels experience, Grace put together an ensemble of musicians, including a guitarist, pianist, clarinetist, and herself. Before the semester's end, they were able to visit a number of retirement homes to share their music. Grace recently received a UNCSA Artist Fellowship to continue her work of using music and voice to help others in the Winston-Salem community in the coming years.
And, it all started with a song with each meal.