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Volunteer Turns Meal Route into Family Affair

Mary Gordon Spence describes herself as a ‘humorlosopher’. For anyone who knows her, it’s an apt description.  The Brownwood, Texas native is a professional speaker, writer, and commentator.  She’s also a Meals on Wheels and More volunteer. 

When asked why she signed up a few years back to deliver meals for us, she says “my uncle delivered for Meals on Wheels in Odessa for 25 years, and he was a curmudgeon.  I thought ‘I’ll be friendly and I can do it in Austin’. 

She volunteers every Monday and also serves as a substitute driver one to three other days each week.  She picks up the meals at our Holy Cross Lutheran Church distribution site in South Austin.  “I’ll tell you why I love it; number one, it (her route) is in my neighborhood.  It has allowed me to know my neighborhood.  I’ve been on streets I’ve never ever been on.  I also know how important it is for people who can’t get out to have somebody come in,” she says.

Mary Gordon often has company on her route.  “I’ve taken my oldest three grandchildren with me at different times and sometimes all three of them at the same time,” she explains.  Those experiences inspired her grandson, William, when he turned 10 recently.  “He had a bowling party and in lieu of gifts, he decided he wanted his friends to contribute to Meals on Wheels.  He raised about $125,” says his beaming grandmother. 

As she teaches her grandkids the importance of public service, Mary Gordon also remembers the relative who inspired her to volunteer: “I think of my Uncle Walter every Monday morning and how long he delivered.  When he died, all of the memorial contributions in Odessa went to Meals on Wheels. I honor what Meals on Wheels and More does and how they do it”