A Lawrence couple found volunteering for the Senior Meals program a rewarding experience.
Robert and Marjorie Candlin will be missed by everyone at Douglas County Senior Services. The couple served as faithful and devoted volunteer drivers with the Senior Meals program for the past eight years. They quit delivering meals in May.
Kathryn Newman, DCSS meal site coordinator, is at a loss for words to describe the Candlins' contributions to the agency.
``There's not enough I can say about them,'' Newman said. ``They were marvelous. I will definitely miss them. They cared about the people. They just didn't run in and deliver the meals. They took time out with each of them (clients).''
Newman recalls one memory she has of the Candlins. She said the couple couldn't return to Lawrence to deliver their meals one Thursday because they were stranded in Colorado. They contacted their daughter with the bad news, and told her to relay the message to Newman.
``That's dedication,'' Newman said.
The Candlins typically spent every Thursday delivering meals to the elderly and homebound. They also served as substitute drivers.
Marjorie said their motivation to volunteer stemmed from wanting to aid the ``people that needed help and needed food. We became quite attached to some of the people we had over the years, and felt like we were doing a little missionary work along the way. We really did.''
The couple made some lasting friendships through their contacts with the clients.
``They were all special,'' Robert said. ``More than just the food, we kept track of them through the newspaper, friends, and so forth so that they knew that we cared.''
Marjorie added, ``These people very often needed somebody to talk to them and give them a hug, and just know that we were there. They were just really, really, lovely people.''
Robert and Marjorie look back with great fondness over their time delivering meals to the needy. They both learned valuable lessons about the strong spirit and resiliency of the clients. Delivering meals each week also taught them to be thankful for what they had in life.
``We were very lucky to be on the giving end instead of the receiving,'' Robert said.
The Candlins previously volunteered as greeters at the Spencer Museum of Art. They also have been active in the First United Methodist Church. Robert keeps busy these days as a member of the Rotary Club. He has actually been associated with Rotary clubs since 1946.
The couple said they enjoy living in Lawrence after moving here in 1965. Marjorie worked as an elementary teacher at Riverside School, while her husband was employed at Kansas University as assistant director of finance in the housing department. Robert said Lawrence is an ideal living environment because of its ``people, entertainment, and wonderful opportunity to do almost anything you'd like.''
They both currently keep active walking, going to plays and sampling some of Lawrence's restaurants. While the Candlins will miss their time delivering meals with the Senior Center, they are comforted with the sweet memories they share with each other.
This includes many years of attending the Senior Center's annual dinner, which recognizes all the volunteers for their contributions to the agency. However, as Robert quickly says, ``That isn't what we do (volunteer) it for.''
Marjorie adds with a smile, ``The reward of being able to help these people is reward enough.''