Lily and Barbara in our Volunteer Lounge

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Volunteers Barbara and Lily: Age is Just a Number and their Hearts Have no Limit!

Lily Everdell, a 10th grader, and her grandmother Barbara, a retired schoolteacher/administrator, set out eagerly on Sundays heading toward God’s Love We Deliver. They never know what challenges the subway will set before them, but they carry a snack and Lily often does homework on the train. They always make it on time and are greeted with love, warmth and cheery hellos. As they leave they feel happy and proud to have spent an afternoon helping to make and pack good, nutritious meals for so many.

Barbara, who grew up on a farm near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, with a stream, a big vegetable garden, trees to climb, and lots of animals, is a country mouse transplanted to Brooklyn by marriage in 1968. Her granddaughter, Lily, is a city kid, who lives and goes to school in Brooklyn. The extended Everdell families get to see each other in summertime and bikes and beaches bring Lily and her sister together with their cousins on Martha’s Vineyard.

About five years ago Barbara received the God’s Love newsletter in her mail. She read it with great interest and an increasing realization how meaningful the work must be and how important these food deliveries were to the many clients of God’s Love. She knew almost immediately that she wanted to support her fellow New Yorkers this way—to be part of it. The pandemic delayed execution of the decision, but soon she joined the regular volunteers and for the past year was coming every week with an old friend.

Last summer, Barbara kept telling her friends and family stories about her wonderful weekly experiences at God’s Love. Lily must have been listening. She said she would like to volunteer herself. Since last September, Lily has come to a Sunday afternoon shift almost every week. She clearly loves the work. She values the friends she has made, the organization’s spirit, and most importantly, the pleasure of giving back to her fellow New Yorkers.

Barbara and Lily both think there is something magical about being in the God’s Love building—such a welcoming and happy place. The staff seems so energetic and upbeat. They are always smiling and they really get to know the volunteers. And the volunteers themselves are awesome! Such interesting people of all ages who like to chat, they become friends on the assembly line as they dish out portions, pack them and label each one.

Lily is by far the youngest member of the Sunday group, but she is welcomed by all. She loves her position at the head of the line where she energetically measures out the pasta and vegetables and puts the portions in containers. Dede, Merit, Flo and Sara, and others band together to steady the flow of the meals as they approach the machine that seals them. Finally, they come to Barbara, at the end of the line who labels them and passes them on to Kenny who stacks them, 52 meals to a crate. Most days a group can pack about 1,600 meals in a single three-hour shift; but one Sunday this group completed about 2,200. They were all a bit tired, but were especially proud of what all our line volunteers had accomplished that day—including Lily.

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