I Believe in the Power of Food

Ian - LaGrange, Illinois
Entered on February 18, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

This I Believe

I believe in the power of food in bringing people together. There are memorable meals like Jesus’s Last Supper. And there are mundane meals like lunch in the cafeteria. Regardless of the importance of the meal, food is often the catalyst in the formation of friendships. Such is the case with my friend, and surrogate grandmother, Dolores.

I met Dolores two summers ago when my mom and I joined Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels is an organization that delivers food to people who are housebound either because of their age or because of a disability. My mom drove the car and I brought the food to the table of the recipient. I remember my first day very well. I was incredibly scared that the people would be mean, yell at me or smell badly. But I soon learned that my ideas were insane and idiotic. The people I delivered food to were some of the best people I have ever met. They were very appreciative and nice. One lady in particular struck my heart. Her name was Dolores.

Dolores had multiple sclerosis and it was very hard for her to move. Because of her disability, it took her a long time to answer the door. But when she finally opened the door, I saw a smile that made mine. I would stay as long as I could to just talk to her. She had been a teacher and used to run the track at LT for exercise. She had many great stories and was fun to be around. Summer came to an end, and my last day with Meals on Wheels was a sad one. I didn’t want to leave these people I had met through this simple program of delivering lunch. As Dolores and I were saying our final goodbyes, she asked me if I wanted to come to her house once and awhile and do some odd jobs for her. I most graciously accepted. I had never had a grandmother before, and Dolores was becoming the one I never had. My mom and I even went to a church picnic (another food-related function) with her. As time went on, I saw Dolores less and less, but I still kept in touch. I went to visit Dolores one day and there was a realtor sign up on her yard. I thought this was strange because she hadn’t said anything about moving. I went up and rang the doorbell, but no one came. I waited there for about ten minutes until her neighbor came out and told me the news. Dolores had died. I was heart broken, and I realized how much I was going to miss her.

I still do Meals on Wheels during summer break hoping to brighten peoples’ days the way Dolores brightened mine. If not for food, I would not have had my friendship with Dolores.