Each day our volunteers and staff offer a helpful hand to connect with a person who needs a little extra support to remain independent. When taking care of our clients’ requests, familiarity, kindness, and trust work together to build relationships that often span across years and make a meaningful impact on people’s lives.
Meet Ernestine, a resident of Minneapolis since 1956 and one of our clients for more than twenty years. When riding the bus was no longer an option for her, she reached out to us for support: “I knew for a fact that I would not be able to get my groceries. Help At Your Door has been a lifesaver for me because I’m from the South and I like to eat.”
While Grocery Assistance provides access to a basic need to remaining healthy and at home, for Ernestine our service was more than just food – it also meant a friendly face: “They are good about accommodating you. The drivers are so nice and honest.”
Our rich history of serving the aging population have informed our practices and honed our ability to identify needs. Those who give their time to help meet the growing requests are dedicated to our mission and understand the impact that their efforts make.
John, one of the first people who brought food to Ernestine, joined our organization in 2000 after retiring from Honeywell. When asked why he selected our team, he replied, “For me, it was the interaction with the people. It kept me active and I enjoyed doing it.”
John’s modest response is characteristic of his demeanor, though not a sign of his feelings about the service he provided. As Ernestine will tell you, John’s passion for his work was evident at every delivery he made: “That man loves his job. John loves people and I know people.”
It was no surprise then when John’s son, Scott, was in the market for a new job, his father recommended that he check out Help At Your Door. Scott not only took his advice, but ended up following in his father’s footsteps: “I’ve been with the company now for seven years. It’s very rewarding. I didn’t understand it when my father was working. But now, it’s nice to be appreciated and you feel good about doing a good deed. You get to meet a lot of interesting people. I’m carrying on the tradition.”
And as happenchance would have it, one day Scott was filling in for a driver and met one of his father’s clients: “Ernestine looked at me and said, ‘You remind me of somebody who use to deliver to me. John?’ I said, ‘Yes’ and she just lit up. She was so happy. She told me stories about how nice he as. She wanted me to make sure that I said, ‘Hi’ to him from Ernestine. Then, about a year later, I filled in on that route again, and when I got to her door, she opened it and said, ‘John’s son.'”
How could Ernestine have known John and Scott were related? She told Scott: “You acted like your dad. It was something between you and him that hit me.”
These moments, and the relationships that have developed over the years, inspire our work. While our services are critical to ensuring that those who we serve can remain in their homes, it is the day-to-day interactions and commitment to our client’s well-being that set us apart and allow us to continue our important work.