Meals on Wheels for Retirement Community Residents
“Some days I don’t know how I ever had time to go to work,” says Katherine Gutberlet. Gutberlet enjoyed a long career with the Chesapeake & Potomac (C&P) Phone Company before retiring. During her 43 years of service, she moved up through the ranks-starting as a clerk and ending her career as a part of the management team who traveled throughout the mid-Atlantic preparing smaller companies for the break up of AT&T.
Of the early days with the company, she recalls, “When I started tracking telephone records, it had always been done by men. The men were still getting paid a lot more for the same job at the time. I’m proud to say that over the 43 years I was with the company, and thanks to the efforts of a lot of the other girls in Maryland, we got a lot of those things remedied.”
After such a busy career, the prospect of facing endless, idle hours did not appeal to Gutberlet. “I didn’t just want to sit around and do nothing,” she says. She turned to Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland because she wanted to “do something worthwhile” with her retirement time; she has been volunteering with the program for 17 years now. “This is such a wonderful program that affords people the opportunity to stay at home,” she notes.
Through the years, she has seen the difference that visits by Meals on Wheels make-nutritionally and emotionally. Gutberlet and other volunteers deliver two nutritionally-balanced meals a day to individuals who are unable to prepare their own food or shop for their groceries. She points out that volunteers always make sure to see the individual and check in on them. Volunteers also provide referrals to other community services as needed.
One of Katherine’s most memorable experiences as a volunteer was the 100th birthday of one of the clients in Towson. She remembers, “All the drivers and visitors threw her a birthday party to celebrate her 100th year. We had a beautiful cake, and she just beamed. It really was wonderful.”
Katherine has also served on the Meals on Wheels’ Council of Site Representatives and was a member of the board of directors for some time. She continues to deliver meals to her standard route. “Every time I go, I feel like it was two hours well spent,” she says.
Besides volunteering, Katherine enjoys participating in many of the activities available at her retirement community. She has been a resident of Oak Crest, an Erickson Retirement Community in Parkville, MD for the past eight years. She also attends classes at the Baltimore Community College Lifelong Learning Program.
“I’m continually looking for something new to do,” says Katherine. That search for exciting, new activities leaves little time for work-and makes for a great retirement.