Husband, 95, and wife, 89, up for Meals on Wheels honor
An East Cooper Meals on Wheels client lies on the couch in a dim room. She just woke up, but brightens immediately as volunteer Alyce Quimby, 89, walks into the room with her daily meal.
Quimby sits next to the 87-year-old woman, grabs her hand and talks for a while.
Quimby's husband, Ed Quimby, 95, waits outside behind the wheel of their car, puts his hand under his chin and closes his eyes. It might be 30 minutes before Alyce comes back to the car. They will stop at 11 more homes before ending their day.
Volunteering for East Cooper Meals on Wheels has been part of their weekly routine for the past 24 years, and they don't plan on stopping anytime soon.
It's one of the reasons why East Cooper Meals on Wheels nominated the Quimbys in the Meals on Wheels Association of America's 2010 American Volunteer Contest. Patricia Walker, Meals on Wheels president, said the couple are very deserving. "They befriend people who don't like people coming into their home," she says.
Alyce Quimby began volunteering for the organization almost immediately after retiring from an administrative position at The Citadel. She said her husband, Ed, saw her do it and thought he'd tag along.
Each Wednesday, they help pack about 250 meals at the Meals on Wheels campus of Christ Church for clients who are typically homebound and incapable of preparing their own food. Alyce takes her place at the front of the line, and Ed seals the meals in a tray with a crimping machine. Then they deliver one of 15 routes using their own vehicle. Ed drives and Alyce delivers the food and talks to the clients.
"I tell them I'm a chatterbox and I give them a hug. People like to be hugged," she says.
Lisa Cottingham, East Cooper Meals on Wheels vice president of community development, said the couple have volunteered with the organization longer than anyone else, so they frequently are used as the "poster children" for the organization. "I'm tired of being famous. I want to be rich," Alyce Quimby jokes.
The Meals on Wheels American Volunteer award would bring a bit of fame and some cash. People can vote at www.mowaa.org/americanvolunteer until Aug. 1.
If the Quimbys were to win, they would receive a $1,000 donation for the Meals on Wheels facility on the campus of Christ Church. They also would receive new tires for their car, which has 146,000 miles on it.
Volunteering has taught her patience but also to give and to take.
"I was used to giving but not receiving," Alyce says.
Reach Jessica Johnson at 937-5921 or firstname.lastname@example.org.