Delivering warm meals and food for the soul

Most of us dread Mondays. Not Rudy Guerrero.

Every Monday like clockwork, Rudy hops into his white Honda Civic at CPS Energy’s Main Office Campus during his lunch break. He drives a couple of miles to the Trinity Lutheran Church community center off Flores Street to grab lunch – not for himself but for nearly a dozen seniors in our community in need of a hot meal.

After loading the prepackaged meals into insulated bags and into his car, Rudy – much like a football coach glancing over a player roster – scans over the list of recipients and their addresses to see if there are any changes from the previous week. Occasionally, a person is added or removed from the list, having moved into or away from the area, or sadly, having passed away.

(Image) Rudy GuerreroThis particular week, there are no changes and he’s off to his first stop.

Rudy knows the route so well he could do it blindfolded – after all, the Meals on Wheels volunteer has handled this same route in San Antonio’s downtown area for more than 10 years.

A couple of stops into his weekly deliveries, he glides up a wheelchair ramp and knocks on the front door of Maria Quintero’s home. She’s a soft-spoken woman but her friendly smile speaks volumes. “You’re a good man,” she kindly tells Rudy before he leaves. “God bless you.”

Refastening his seat belt, he mentions a lot of meal recipients don’t have much in way of possessions; nonetheless they generously dole out blessings. “You can never have too many of those!” he says.

Rudy continues along his route, at times not only furnishing a warm meal to the elderly but listening compassionately to their concerns or just lending a friendly ear as they talk about whatever is on their mind – the weather, family and even sports. One recipient on his route quipped he can’t wait to see how the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans will do this year.

Rudy climbs back into his Civic one last time before heading back to work, wiping the beads of sweat from his forehead.

“It’s a great way to start off my week,” he says of volunteering for Meals on Wheels. “I may have something going on in my personal life, but every week I’m grounded and I know I’m serving a need.”

His service to others and to our community hasn’t gone unnoticed. Rudy recently was honored by the San Antonio Chapter of Meals on Wheels as their Volunteer of the Month.

Each weekday, the non-profit organization’s team of volunteers prepare and deliver more than 3,800 hot, nutritious meals to homebound seniors across Bexar County.

Volunteers like Rudy are crucial to Meals on Wheels because of our aging population, noted Tianna Dokes, Community Engagement Manager for the organization’s local branch. They’re not only delivering a warm meal, but also helping conduct safety checks to ensure the wellbeing of these seniors and offering companionship to them. Oftentimes, these volunteers are the only person the seniors have contact, or interaction, with on a day-to-day basis.

Volunteerism and giving back to our community is close to Rudy’s heart, at and away from work. Aside from delivering nutritious meals, he provides some food for the soul, or spiritual nourishment, as a volunteer chaplain at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital. At work, he coordinates volunteer events for small groups and companywide as a Program/Project Lead on our Corporate Responsibility team.

Rudy epitomizes the overwhelming spirit of giving at CPS Energy, which is reflected each year in our support of United Way and its agencies, such as Meals on Wheels. In fact, our 2018 United Way campaign is just getting started and we’ll be partnering with Meals on Wheels as we begin another successful record-breaking campaign. At tomorrow’s launch, our Senior Leadership Team will distribute meals to seniors in our community. It’s just one more way we’re giving back and living united with members of our community, and showing how we put People First in action.

Related stories:

Live United: A front row seat to United Way’s local impact

Reading Buddies boost local students’ reading skills and confidence

Pam Maris

Pam is part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.