Volunteering with Meals on Wheels is family tradition for San Antonio mother and son

A reassuring sight awaited Leslie Fellows as he answered the knock on the door of his trailer – Lucinda Crane and her son Gregory with food in plastic bags and welcome conversation. The Fellows’ dogs, Baby and Buttons, crouched at his feet as he leaned on sun-bleached wooden stairs for frozen lunch.

Both wore protective masks, the mother and son listened as their client talked about missing Janice, his 35-year-old wife who died last year. They nodded when the widower told them that he missed five puppies that he could no longer afford and had to adopt them. They kept their distance, standing next to a pile of split logs that Fellows had cut with a chainsaw that morning, a sweaty job he’d done years ago on old Texas ranches.

“Thank you,” said Fellows, 77. “Bless you all, I appreciate it; that helps a lot. “

Crane, 53, and son Gregory, 20, volunteer at Meals on Wheels San Antonio every Tuesday and Thursday delivering meals to senior citizens and home residents.

The cranes are among 60 volunteers who have delivered meals to a growing list of customers twice a week since the pandemic began more than a year ago. Before the pandemic, 3,000 customers received meals; now the average is up to 5,000. Customers include people with disabilities who are home-bound and have medical problems.

The number of volunteers before the pandemic averaged around 200 per day; Eighteen company teams helped deliver meals.

During this time, the non-profit organization offered hot, ready-to-eat meals Monday through Friday. To keep customers, volunteers and employees safe at the height of the pandemic, the nonprofit was delivering chilled meals twice a week.

The Northwest Side route takes the cranes to customers who live in trailers, houses and apartments near the headquarters of the nonprofit organization on Blanco.

Lucinda Crane, 53, right, and her son Gregory, 20, talk to Leslie Fellows, 77, after they deliver his meals. They are volunteers at Meals on Wheels San Antonio and took the route from their father.

Jerry Lara / Photographer

The cranes have a close relationship with Meals on Wheels San Antonio. Lucinda Crane’s father, George Walling, was a volunteer driver for the nonprofit, and her grandmother, Helinda Cerda, received meals in the late 1990s.

Crane said the family began volunteering when their three children began recording school service hours with community events. This led to cash donations, but she felt a kinship with the Meals on Wheels mission.

“I felt like delivering meals would be a good thing,” said Crane.

About the author

A 22 year old Air Force veteran, Vincent T. Davis embarked on a second career as a journalist and found his calling. While watching and listening all over San Antonio, he finds fascinating stories about everyday people. Every Monday morning he shares his stories with Express News subscribers.

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She recalled speaking to a customer recently who said they were running out of money and sometimes they were running out of food. The customer is dependent on the meals. She cannot drive and has to call another agency to take her with her for her monthly grocery shopping.

“Those are the things that really affect you,” said Lucinda Crane, “that there is a need out here.”

She said it was a blessing to volunteer with her son and meet people she refers to as “friends” along the way.

Gregory Crane graduated from Antonian High School last year when coronavirus became commonplace. He decided to take a year out of college and join his mother to do good to people in need.

“I’m enjoying it,” he said. “It was a nice experience to be able to drive the same route and get to know the people. When you see so much need, it opens your eyes a little. “

She recalled speaking to a customer recently who said they were running out of money and sometimes they were running out of food. The customer is dependent on the meals. She cannot drive and has to call another agency to take her to her monthly grocery shopping.

“Those are the things that really affect you,” said Lucinda Crane, “that there is a need out here.”

She said it was a blessing to volunteer with her son and meet people she referred to as “friends” along the way.

Gregory Crane graduated from Antonian High School last year when coronavirus became commonplace. Before going to college, he decided to take a year off and joined his mother helping people in need.

“I’m enjoying it,” he said. “It was a nice experience to be able to drive the same route and get to know the people. When you see so much need, it opens your eyes a little. “

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Vinsen Faris, CEO of Meals on Wheels San Antonio, said they are grateful for the community support and volunteers who have pushed their mission forward. He said the nonprofit has many couples and families like the Cranes signing up for delivery routes. According to Faris, volunteers can even sign up for a route in their own neighborhood.

“Every morning they queue outside our building to deliver meals because they want to make sure our neighbors get the necessary food and safety checks,” he said. “Some volunteer because of a personal connection to the program. It reminds you of your time with grandma or grandpa. It’s a simple family activity and you will change so many people’s lives when you deliver meals. It only takes an hour of your time. “

The cranes offer their customers more than just food on their route. The duo have given protective masks to elderly customers who are unsure about the vaccine. They brought some packets of coffee and extra meals that were left over on delivery days. And they took notes and made recommendations for those who are unwell, who live in shabby houses and need care.

“The volunteers,” said Jose Lerma, Meals and Wheels Special Initiatives Coordinator, “are our eyes and ears.”

People interested in volunteering can register at https://www.mowsatx.org/meal-delivery-volunteer. Corporate teams can call Emily Morehouse at 210-735-5115 or email emilym@mowsatx.org.

vtdavis@express-news.net

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