Our volunteer of the month for November is Gina Bell, who goes above and beyond by spending extra time with seniors when she delivers Food for Hope meals.
Gina makes the deliveries with her 12-year-old daughter, Abi, on Saturdays. The experience has been a special time of service between the mother and daughter.
“Yes, we are helping them, and they’re very grateful for the meals. But it’s also a blessing for us,” Gina said. “That part has been encouraging and a little bit of a surprise in how God has been doing that.”
Spending time with the seniors and hearing their stories allows Gina and Abi to see things from a different perspective.
“Then my daughter and I have conversations about it, and that’s another blessing,” she said.
Abi has three older brothers who are young adults now. When they were kids, Gina used to take them to nursing homes to visit seniors with a group of other homeschooled kids.
Abi heard stories about the visits. Once, all the kids tried to tell the seniors jokes, but they didn’t laugh. Then Gina’s youngest son, who’s always had a strong voice, told them the joke about the chicken crossing the road to uproarious laughter.
The adults realized that the problem wasn’t the quality of the jokes but the volume of the speaker.
“It was so funny to me,” Gina said. “I told him, ‘God gave you that voice and he’s going to use it for his glory, but we have to train it.’”
As time went on, Gina and her husband began visiting a different nursing home, just the two of them. When the pandemic hit and closed all care centers to visitors, Gina was in Mexico, finalizing the adoption for her daughter.
She had signed up to be a Heart2Heart volunteer, but never acted on it, despite encouragement at her church from Heart2Heart CEO Juan Gallo.
When Gina saw the call for Food for Hope volunteers, she asked Abi if she would like to make the deliveries with her. Abi agreed.
One of the women they delivered to was a fellow Riverside Church member, whom Gina knew. Aside from the meals, Gina helped drive her to doctor visits and considers her great friend.
Gina was blessed to be a part of her story when the woman began working after a long injury and decided she didn’t need the meals.
“That was such a closure. I thought it was so perfect,” Gina said.
We thank Gina and Abi for the time and care they’ve invested in the lives of seniors!