Since as early as she can remember, volunteering has always been a big part of Cindy Zappa’s life. “It was kind of engrained in our family – that you needed to give back,” shared Zappa. So upon retiring after a nearly 40 year career as a pharmacist, she decided to seek out a volunteer opportunity that would still allow her to be involved with people. It just so happened that Help At Your Door and our clients got to be the lucky beneficiaries of Cindy’s kind heart and giving spirit.
Most Tuesday mornings, before the sun has risen, you can find Cindy in the aisles of a grocery store fulfilling orders for our grocery clients. And while there is always a hefty stack of orders needing to be shopped, there is still room for friendships and laughs (and a cup of coffee or two). “It’s just about being with the volunteers. We are a fun group, it’s a good time!” said Zappa. After a difficult past year and a half for many, having that positive social interaction while simultaneously giving back to people who need help, make the early mornings more than worth it.
As a volunteer Personal Driver, Cindy also gets to experience the client-facing side of Help At Your Door. Whether it is transporting clients to and from appointment or just providing them the opportunity to get out of the house, Zappa has been lucky to meet many wonderful individuals:
“I like getting to know the clients, I have had a chance to meet some very interesting people. I tend to drive a lot of the same people repetitively so you get to know them and what their background is. It is always fun to hear about their lives and their stories.”
Sometimes, she is even able to find a mutual connection with her passengers, like the time she drove a lady who was a nurse at the same hospital Cindy was a pharmacist. They spent the car ride talking about different doctors they both worked with and reminiscing on the days they walked into the same doors and headed to their respective jobs. On an even rarer occasion, she comes across a passenger whose story comes right off the pages of a history book, like the veteran who was a Navy man in Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
While the clients and their stories bring joy to Cindy’s life, the gift of independence she provides is viewed by many clients as the greatest gift of all. “One particular gentleman [who was a first-time client] was so grateful that I could drive him to his appointment and that he didn’t have to try to find a cab or a family member that could take the day off. It just feels kind of cool to be appreciated like that and to know your work is very much needed,” Zappa said.
When asked what steered her towards our organization her answer was clear, “I really believe in Help At Your Door’s mission and trying to help people still remain independent whether they are seniors or people with disabilities.” As a volunteer grocery shopper and personal driver she is putting the mission into action; lending a helping hand so our clients can remain in the comfort of their own homes.