85-year-old Mary doesn’t drive anymore, but that doesn’t stop her from volunteering every weekday for the Senior Center Lunch program. Mary is known as “the hip-walking lady” by the many who see her on her daily trek, sporting her uniform of gloves, long sleeves and a sun protective hat. After walking a brisk 30 minutes from her home, Mary often joins the 9:00am exercise class at the Fountain Valley Senior Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On other weekdays, Mary walks an hour each way to volunteer for the lunch program at the Huntington Beach Senior Center. Collectively between the two sites, Mary volunteered a total of 540 hours in 2016. Jessie, Fountain Valley Site Supervisor said, “Mary is definitely an asset and very dependable!”
“I really enjoy volunteering because I feel so good and can share my love,” said Mary, “I enjoy all the senior people.” Mary helps prepare the lunch tables, wraps cutlery, sets up beverages and does whatever is needed, but serving is what she enjoys the most. “I know all the people there,” said Mary. “I know where they sit and what they like to eat and drink. I like to say ‘hello’ and serve them.”
Mary began coming to the lunch program following the loss of her husband over 12 years ago. “I needed to leave the house and go help senior people. They are like my family,” she said.