Volunteering offers many rewards

Bob McKegney, 72, leads a good life. The soft-spoken retired dentist with the gentle smile lives with his wife in a comfortable neighbourhood in North Toronto. He enjoys curling in the winter, and perfects his golf techniques each summer. An avid reader McKegney also enjoys a night out at the Toronto Symphony.

So what does someone like McKegney know about going hungry in downtown Toronto?

More than most, it appears. For the last four years, he’s been delivering Meals on Wheels at Mid-Toronto Community Services, a United Way funded agency serving elderly and disabled adults living in their homes.

McKegney began volunteering for Meals on Wheels after hearing about the program from a fellow parishioner at his church."I didn’t know anything about the program but thought I’d give it a try. It sounded like a worthwhile thing to do."

McKegney and his fellow volunteers deliver much more than just nourishment for the body. "For many of the clients I meet, I might be the only face they see that day," he explains. Although his role as a driver simply requires him to ferry volunteer deliverers to their destinations, he always insists on lending a hand.

A he welcomes the interaction. "I really enjoy meeting people and chatting with them. A lot of clients know my name and look forward to seeing me every week," he says.

While you’d be forgiven for thinking McKegney would be kept busy enough with his volunteer work, he does find time for his major passion – building model sailing ships. The ships – three feet long and two and a half feet high, complete with masts and countless tiny parts – take a year to build.

He’s also very active within his church, and sits on the Board of Canadian Friends of Canterbury Cathedral, a group that raises funds to benefit the Anglican Church of England.

"Volunteering does something for you," Bob explains. "It gives you a clear perspective on how lucky you really are."