In 1992, Regina DiNapoli forged a friendship with an older gentleman who lived in the same condominium complex. The agency advisor for CATIC in Massachusetts, DiNapoli started cooking dinners for the now 88-year-old man because his severe back pain would make it hard to stand. She wanted to ensure he had access to nutritious meals.
“Have you seen the face of someone when you deliver home-cooked meals to that someone otherwise would not have them?” DiNapoli said. “There is a smile that is indescribable. I always include a home-cooked desert as well too. Something that I know they will enjoy and probably eat first.”
DiNapoli has cooked for Papa Jack for about four years now and her service is even more important due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She makes sure there are always at least 10 dinners each week in the freezer for the 88-year-old to select from. The joy of delivering happiness spread to include two other men who lived in the same building. Tom typically receives baked goods to enjoy with his afternoon tea. He only requires dinner when his backpain flares up and the 87-year old can’t pick up his own means. Meanwhile, at 86 years old, Tom is the youngest of the bunch. He received his first dinner on Easter.
“With the virus being so dangerous for these men, I prepared a full Easter dinner for each and delivered it to them,” DiNapoli said.
DiNapoli is very cautious not jeopardize anyone’s health. She wears a mask and plastic gloves when food shopping and changes shoes when returning home. All the food is bagged and marked with each person’s name to ease delivery. Single and without children, DiNapoli understands the importance of connecting with and providing for elders.
“There may be a day I may need someone to come and visit with me once a week to deliver healthy good home cooking, make sure I am safe and bring conversation into my home,” she said. “Everyone should stop and think of what their elder years may be like and even if you have children, it doesn’t guarantee that they will take a moment for you. Everyone has an hour or so a week that they could share with an elder.”
Source: ALTA Blog