Meet Elaine Allen ‘I couldn’t live without the Village.’
Elaine Allen, a Village Volunteer member for two years, is a vibrant, active, “soon-to-be 90”-year-old. Elaine moved to Lewes from Orange County, New York, where she lived in a town near West Point. She’s in Sussex County to be close to her daughter, who moved her family to Lewes when COVID closed their pre-kindergarten school.
When Elaine talks of receiving volunteer services, she remembers how important volunteering was to give meaning to her life. She thinks of being a mother, a wife and a daughter, caring for her children, her husband, and her parents as they aged. “Women are always taking care of others,” she says.
When her husband died in 2003, Elaine was very lonely. She sought out support groups for surviving spouses, joining three – one with hospice, one with a church, one with a hospital. Each had a different approach. She was looking for support, not counseling, so she stayed with the hospice group. She took over the role of facilitator after the counselor left.
Ellen says she learned how to accept services from volunteers through her experience volunteering. In addition to leading the support group, Ellen delivered for Meals on Wheels, mentored pre-kindergarten pupils at a school, and cared for animals at the Humane Society.
She beamed with joy as she described her experiences with those volunteer services. She thinks of the friends she made delivering meals. Her shelves are full of pictures of the animals she loves. She was so popular with the children she helped, she heard one student tell another, “Pretend you can’t write and you’ll get Mrs. Allen all to yourself. She’s wonderful and gives great hugs.”
Ellen embraced volunteering to cope with her grief and loneliness. She learned that her volunteering was a wonderful investment in her life. Through volunteering, she learned how to accept Village services and how important it is to live well as she ages.
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