Since September 2017, Connie Bates has helped frail seniors and other homebound Rhode Islanders receive services that allow them to age in place as Meals on Wheels of RI’s customer service representative. A large part of her job is ensuring those who need our services start receiving them in a timely manner. She also works to guarantee the safety of our clients by making sure someone—a friend, relative or emergency worker—checks in on them if they do not answer the door or a phone call for their daily meal delivery.
What interested you in working for the agency?
Bates: Before my grandfather passed away 10 years ago, he received Meals on Wheels of RI home-delivered meals for about eight years. My entire family worked at that time, so no one was available to bring him a lunchtime meal and of course he couldn’t cook one on his own. The program meant we didn’t have to worry about him getting a good meal or being home alone, because someone checked on him each day. He also really liked talking to the volunteer driver. It really made him feel less alone and it meant he was able to stay in his own home until he passed.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Bates: That I help people who aren’t always able to help themselves, and that I help provide a meal to someone who might not otherwise get one and a social visit they might not otherwise have. Sometimes, our clients will call to talk just because they feel so alone. They can’t drive, they live alone, they may not have family in the area and, sometimes, all their friends have passed. It definitely gives you a different outlook on life.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Bates: My daughter just turned four…..she keeps me pretty busy!