Greer Community Ministries: Retiree Delivers Meals and More

Bruce Taylor might be retired, but he’s still a working man – working hard to help others. After serving in the U.S. Army, teaching, and working for over 30 years at a textile plant and 20 years at a hardware store, Bruce still wasn’t ready to kick back and relax. A lifelong Greer resident, he wanted to use his free time to give back to his community. Bruce began volunteering with Greer Community Ministries (GCM) and, at 91, is currently the oldest volunteer driver for their Meals on Wheels program.

GCM serves elderly, homebound and disadvantaged persons in the Greater Greer area. The faith-based organization delivers meals through their Meals on Wheels program, provides food and clothing to those in need through the Food Pantry and Sharon’s Closet, and offers Senior Dining for older adults to enjoy a meal accompanied by inspirational entertainment and social time with friends.

Bruce first connected with GCM as a Meals on Wheels recipient following his wife’s stroke. After her passing, he began driving for the program and has been one of its most dedicated volunteers for nearly four years. Bruce delivers to his regular route every Monday and fills in as a spare driver other days, helping out as many as four times a week.

Volunteering lets Bruce put his spare time to good use by helping others. “I’m not one to sit around and do nothing,” he said. “I’ve been blessed with good health so why not share it. It’s a good feeling to know you can still help regardless of age.”

Thanks to volunteers like Bruce, GCM’s Meals on Wheels program delivers freshly prepared hot meals to more than 300 people Monday through Friday. The program serves local residents who are 62 and older, mentally or physically incapacitated, and immobile, homebound or bedridden. Last year, the organization delivered over 80,000 meals along the 20 routes it serves.

As a volunteer, Bruce has seen the difference one meal can make in someone’s life. “Most people we serve aren’t able to cook and we provide them with a balanced meal for the day,” he said. “We only deliver five days a week and they can’t live on one meal a day, but at least we can give them something.”

Even though his main job is to deliver meals, Bruce brings more than food to the people on his route. “They’re good people, and I enjoy visiting them,” he said. “When I come to their homes, I’m probably the only contact they’ve had with someone from the outside that day and that interaction is important.”

Recipients look forward to Bruce’s visits, but they aren’t the only ones. Bruce has delivered to various community members from a wide range of backgrounds, each facing unique personal challenges and limitations, and many have left a lasting impression. “One man is diabetic and nearly blind,” he said. “When I deliver to him, he sticks out his hand and I shake it and give him his meal. He has a smile on his face every time, and it’s just a joy to see him.”

Bruce may be GCM’s oldest volunteer driver, but he doesn’t plan on retiring from his route anytime soon. “I hope to continue delivering meals as long as I’m able to. Maybe the good Lord will let me keep living so I can do what I can to help others.”

For more information on GCM, visit www.gcminc.org.

Debbie Nelson

Debbie Nelson is the president and founder of DNA Creative Communications, a woman-owned public relations and inspirational marketing firm for nonprofit organizations. Under Debbie’s leadership, in 2010 DNA founded Shine the Light Nonprofit Forums, an annual training program for Greenville nonprofits in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greenville County, the United Way of Greenville County and the Hollingsworth Funds. To support other nonprofits across the state, she also manages education programs for the South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organization. As an a advocate for the nonprofit community, each month Debbie shares nonprofit stories in her Shine the Light columns in the Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Monthly. In addition she teaches nonprofit marketing at Clemson University to inspire and develop future nonprofit leaders. Debbie is a graduate of Leadership Greenville, Leadership South Carolina and the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leadership Initiative. She currently serves on the boards of the Greenville Area Development Corporation, the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, the United Way of Greenville County and the United Way Association of South Carolina.

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