“I’ve Lived in East Austin My Whole Life”
“He’s a ray of sunshine and I look forward to seeing him,” says Meals on Wheels Central Texas client Gareth Pollard of John Limon, the volunteer who delivers lunch to Mr. Pollard’s East Austin home every Monday.
Mr. Limon has been an MOWCTX volunteer since 1994. Not only does he deliver a route every Monday, he also serves as a substitute driver the rest of the week - filling in for regularly scheduled volunteers who are unable to deliver meals on any given day. All of the routes he covers are in East Austin, a part of the city he knows like the back of his hand. “I’ve lived in East Austin my whole life. I was born and raised here and I still live on the east side and I will continue living on the east side until it’s over for me,” Mr. Limon says.
Giving back is important to this Austin native who graduated from Johnston High School and spent 30 years working as a lithographer, delivering meals for us during his lunch break. In retirement, he’s devoted his time to making Austin a better place to live. Mr. Limon is a tireless community leader who seeks to help those in need.
He’s also had a front row seat for the gentrification that’s radically transformed his neighborhood. “When I first started (volunteering) most of our clients were in Central East Austin. But because of the changes that are happening, many (clients) have had to move further out,” he says of skyrocketing property taxes and rental rates. “When I do substitute driving, I’ve done routes that are in Del Valle because our senior citizens are moving out of Austin.” A passionate advocate for the elderly, Mr. Limon also worries about those left behind. “The ones that don’t want to move, that want to continue to live here, those are the ones that are my concern,” he says.
He relishes his visits with the people to whom he delivers meals - folks like Mr. Pollard. “When (the clients) give me their blessings, you know, that’s priceless. When they tell me ‘God bless you for what you do’, what else can I ask for? That is such a huge blessing for me,” he says. Which is why John Limon will continue to drive the streets he’s known his entire life, delivering hot meals and warm smiles to his East Austin neighbors.