Community Stories

College Student Excited for More Friendships with Seniors as Food for Hope Relaunches 

April 2, 2024

Delivering meals to local seniors was so rewarding for 22-year-old Fabiola Metezier that she was excited to resume her role as Food for Hope relaunches

Back in August 2021, Fabiola first became a Heart2Heart volunteer after deciding that she wanted to help her community. 

She was paired up with two seniors – Frederick and Beverly. Over the next year, she built close friendships with both people.

A Kind Heart in a “Hard-core” Exterior

Fabiola, who lives in Pompano Beach, said she wouldn’t have approached Frederick if she randomly saw him on the street. 

“He looks like a biker with tattoos, piercings, and a hard-core exterior,” she said. “But after conversations with him, he is so soft and kind, so shame on me for judging! He has such a compassionate heart.”

Each Saturday morning, Fabiola would drop off meals to Frederick. Then she would stay and talk for about an hour. He learned all about his family and his dog Bubba. She loved hearing about his week and listening to stories from the past.

“Sometimes he would even call me during the week and we would talk or pray together,” she said.

Just a few weeks before she initially began bringing him meals, Frederick decided to give up alcohol. Sometimes their conversations, especially on the phone, focused on his sobriety. 

Fabiola offered encouragement, suggesting alternative activities if he was struggling, such as going for a walk or a drive to get out of the house.

When Fabiola started grad school, Frederick and his roommate gave her a book that would help her in her master’s program. He also shared recipes with her. He was proud of the dishes he’d made and was eager to share his knowledge with his young friend.

A Second Mom

Fabiola also loved the bond she created with another senior, Beverly.

“With Beverly, she was just warm from the beginning,” Fabiola said. “She was very open, very kind.”

Beverly struggles with her hearing, so the pair had some laughs, including when Fabiola first introduced herself. 

“What’s your name?” Beverly asked. “ Ravioli??” 

However, Fabiola quickly figured out how to communicate through talking loud enough or writing things down.

During that first meeting, Beverly gave Fabiola a picture tour of her 30+ family members. She talked about her relationship with her grown children, and how proud she is of them.

More than just delivering meals, Fabiola cherished the talks they would have together and the opportunity to help her. Beverly often needed assistance with tasks such as moving furniture around for her, helping to send a text message to family members, or just helping around the house if Beverly wasn’t feeling well.

“At one point she said ‘It feels like you’re my daughter,’ And I was like ‘I’ve been ADOPTED!!’” Fabiola said with a delighted laugh.

Like Frederick, Beverly, too, shared favorite recipes with her. Fabiola still has those and has adapted them to be vegan. 

Even after she stopped officially volunteering as her master’s program grew more intense, Fabiola has still visited the two seniors a few times. She sent them birthday texts and well wishes.

A New Opportunity

Recently, life slowed down just enough that Fabiola began to think about how she could volunteer.

That’s when she received an email from Heart2Heart about the new delivery program — part of a federal contract to deliver nutritious meals to Broward County seniors.

Since February, Fabiola has been delivering meals to two other seniors as Heart2Heart relaunches Food for Hope through the federal program. 

She is excited to get to know them even better and hopes to bond with them like she did with her other senior friends.

Heart2Heart is looking for 118 more Food for Hope volunteers like Fabiola. If you’re already a Heart2Heart volunteer, text “Food for Hope” to our volunteer coordinator at 954-807-2220.

To join our movement, become a volunteer!

Join the Team!

Becoming a Heart2Heart volunteer means that you are dedicated to serving the aging community. It means you want to connect in a meaningful way to a specific individual or to several people. It means you are committed to a consistent amount of time per month – whether that’s several hours a week or just a few hours per month.

Heart2Heart volunteers must be background checked and trained. Our training can be completed from your home on your computer or device, through the online Volunteer Portal. We run fingerprints in our office in Fort Lauderdale, and you can schedule an appointment with us after you finish the training.

The first step is to create an account on our Volunteer Portal. To get started, click here!

Read more …

Student Volunteers and Seniors Connect at Sun Village Homes

Student Volunteers and Seniors Connect at Sun Village Homes

Nursing student Maria Namendy shares he experiences volunteering at Sun Village Homes in Hialeah.

She’s learned the power of giving seniors a voice — just by listening to their stories.

She’s just one example of how West Coast University students are making a difference.

Read the story

118 Volunteers Needed as Food for Hope Relaunches

118 Volunteers Needed as Food for Hope Relaunches

Food for Hope is BAAACK!!! And the volunteer-led meal delivery program is bigger than ever!

So we need your help!

To deliver meals to Broward County seniors, we need 118 volunteers to give 2-3 hours each week.

This month, our CEO Juan Gallo made a special appeal to Broward County churches for this community-wide effort.

Read about the (relaunched!) Food for Hope

Big Ideas and Small Acts of Kindness

Big Ideas and Small Acts of Kindness

We were inspired by the story of Rashaad Green, an inspirational student we met at a college volunteer fair. At 22 years old, he is helping homeless people, including a 64-year-old senior, and he’s started a club that will bring art therapy to seniors. He dreams of one day curing cancer and opening a permanent and temporary housing facility for the homeless.

The Glamorous Stories of a 1940s Broadway Dancer

The Glamorous Stories of a 1940s Broadway Dancer

Lillian Flowers is 98. She lives alone in Fort Lauderdale.

She used to dance on Broadway.

While volunteer Steve Retford is helping her get services she needs, he gets a front row seat to glamorous stories from Broadway, filled with famous theater producers, celebrities (she dated Dean Martin briefly), and traveling through a life of show biz.

We extended his front row seat so you can listen to Lillian’s stories too.