Positive People: Shirley Bickford and Keith Cannon

By: Kristen Guilfoos Email
By: Kristen Guilfoos Email

The Central Wisconsin Meals on Wheels chapter makes 224,000 meals a year. They do it all out of a relatively small kitchen.

As far as most are concerned, the kitchen itself isn't anything special, but the people who volunteer in it certainly are, especially Shirley Bickford and Keith Cannon.

Rhonda James with the Aging and Disability Resource Center says, "They really have a place in their hears to give to other people and to serve others."

Shirley is in the kitchen twice a week, at 8am sharp, getting the meals ready. She is definitely a stickler for details.

Shirley says, "When I look at this, I say ooh this one didn't get enough. This one got too much."

She admits she's not perfect.
"Oops. Well I did that one wrong. Sometimes I make mistakes."

But she has found the perfect way to help others, who otherwise wouldn't have a hot meal to eat that day.

She says, "I feel good that two times a week, I can get up and I can go help somebody. I enjoy thinking about the people who they're taking this food to. I hope they like it."

Speaking of taking the food to people, that's where Keith Cannon comes in. He's a Meals on Wheels driver, delivering the meals Shirley puts together to about 20 homes, twice a week.

He explains how he packs the meals before he starts delivering them. "You gotta make sure when you're delivering the meals that they are kept cold. Nobody likes warm milk or melted cheese."

It's not just food he delivers though. Many times, the people on the receiving end are in need of a friend as well, and they've found one in Keith.

"I learn about their grandkids, their great grandkids. We talk about the weather. They have someone to talk to. A lot of them are living at home alone, their spouse has passed away. Their kids have grown up."

It's his way of paying it forward.

"A lot of the people we delivers meals to, if someone wasn't checking on them daily, and preparing meals for them, they'd be in a nursing home or assisted living. This gives a lot of the people the ability to stay at home where they can feel comfortable. Who knows? That could be me some day."

That's a quite the accomplishment, especially considering Keith and Shirley are both usually done volunteering, and back at their own homes by lunch time.

As Keith says, "all in a days work."

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