Meal-delivery volunteer: ‘It’s not much, but it’s something’
NAME: Jim Sveinsson
BEST KNOWN AS: Home-delivered meals volunteer
HOMETOWN: Park Ridge
Updated: October 14, 2012 12:14PM
PARK RIDGE — For residents of the eight to 10 homes he drives to each week, Jim Sveinsson just might be the most important visitor of the day.
Every Monday, Sveinsson comes bearing food — a sandwich and fruit for lunch, a hot meal to be reheated for dinner.
Sveinsson, of Park Ridge, is one of more than 35 volunteers with the Norwood Seniors Network’s Home-Delivered Meals Program, a service traditionally referred to as “meals on wheels.” Meals are prepared by Norwood Crossing, a senior-care residence in Chicago’s Norwood Park Neighborhood, picked up by volunteers and transported to homes across the city’s Northwest Side, Park Ridge, Niles, Harwood Heights, Rosemont and portions of Des Plaines.
Sveinsson has been a Home-Delivered Meals volunteer for more than 10 years, becoming involved following the death of his 102-year-old mother, Ela, who lived at Norwood Crossing, formerly known as Norwood Park Home.
“I had been retired for a couple of years at the time and I figured I’d like to do some volunteer work,” Sveinsson recounted. “I thought of Norwood Park Home, where my mother was.”
Delivering freshly prepared meals was suggested to Sveinsson, who took up the offer and has been happily visiting home-bound residents ever since.
“It gives me something to do and I’m helping others,” he said. “I’m doing something and giving back a little bit. It’s not much, but it’s something.”
The people who sign up for the program are very grateful for the daily meals they receive, Sveinsson noted.
“I get a lot of thank-you’s. People do appreciate it,” he said.
Volunteers like Sveinsson also provided an added service: a well-being check. Though their job is strictly to deliver food, if a resident fails to answer the door that might be a sign that he or she needs help. That was the case for one of Sveinsson’s clients who always left the door open for her Monday-afternoon delivery.
“Because the door was unlocked I was able to go in and I found her lying on the floor,” he said. “She had been there for a few hours. I called the paramedics and she told me to call her son. So I found the phone book and found her son’s name and called him.”
Sveinsson, a retired plumber and 47-year resident of Park Ridge, previously served on Mary, Seat of Wisdom Parish’s Buildings and Grounds Committee, and still offers advice. The father of seven and grandfather of six also enjoys working around his home and yard, and playing golf.
Norwood Park Seniors Network, like other organizations that provide human services to the community, can use more volunteers, Sveinsson believes.
“It’s a matter of giving back and doing something for somebody else,” he said. “I’ve been blessed so it makes me feel good to do something.”~.