Simone: Traveling Volunteer!
October 26, 2023Kathy Stirling

We are grateful for each and every volunteer who dedicates their time to helping ensure Meals on Wheels seniors never have to worry about food or being forgotten.

Meet Simone Kaplan! Simone has been graciously serving as a volunteer in our Friendly Social Call program since 2021.  Impressed by the connection she established with her initial match; she eagerly took on an additional match in 2022. While traveling around the country, Simone remained steadfast in her commitment to making heartwarming connections with seniors in San Francisco. We asked Simone why she became a volunteer, and we had the privilege of learning from this exemplary volunteer.

What do you do for a living? 

I’m currently working on my Master’s in Nonprofit Leadership and looking for remote work. Remote because I’m on a walkabout around North America with my partner and our dog. We’re meeting people from all over, hearing wonderful stories, eating delicious foods, and reconnecting with the world around us. Prior to that, I worked in memory care life enrichment which is the creation and teaching of engaging classes and activities for seniors with dementia.

Where are you volunteering from?

We’re currently in New England for the fall. We go where we find short-term rentals and explore as much as possible. October is all about Vermont! There are stunning views in every direction, but it’s getting chilly. I was spoiled by the mild and lovely Bay Area weather.

Can you tell us when you first started volunteering with Meals on Wheels San Francisco and what got you started?

I started volunteering in 2021 when I noticed how isolated people seemed due to Covid restrictions, and how that might be so much worse for anyone homebound. I looked for volunteer opportunities and saw MOWSF’s post for friendly social callers. I’ve been volunteering ever since.

What drives you to volunteer with MOWSF? What keeps you coming back?

I like being helpful and chatting with folks, especially seniors. I’ve heard so many delightful stories and really value the connections I’ve made with each person. Being able to offer companionship to someone who is homebound means a lot to me and I’ve met so many kind people in the process. 

Share a volunteer story that touched your heart and that you’d like to pass on to others thinking about getting involved. 

A mostly homebound senior I have chats with was about to start lessons to use her phone and iPad just before Covid started, and then lockdown brought everything to a screeching halt. She was feeling isolated and frustrated when she put in a request to receive friendly social calls. We began chatting in 2022, and through our chats, we went over the basics of checking email, making orders, and appointments. She soon learned to navigate the sites she needed in order to feel independent and connected again. I was happy to have been a part of that. 

Related, read: Seniors and Advancing Tech

Is there anything extra you’d like to share about your journey as a MOWSF volunteer?

The stories I’ve heard and experiences I’ve had as a MOWSF volunteer are in large part what has inspired me to pursue my degree in Nonprofit Leadership. I plan to continue volunteering here wherever my work takes me.

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