PALESTINE — Whenever Liz deBessonet got “the blues” as a little girl, her mother would quickly respond with the sure-fire cure: “Stop thinking about yourself and get up and do something for somebody else!”
Little Liz paid attention.
“My mom was a great lifetime volunteer. I come from a big family, and we were always brought up to do stuff for other people,” Liz said.
Now, over half a century later, her mother’s message still rings true for the retired East Texas citizen, who volunteers with her husband John in the Palestine Meals on Wheels program. Every Monday and Tuesday, the couple pulls up to the side door at the Palestine Senior Activity Center and loads their backseat with cases of dinners, sides and milk to be distributed to homebound elderly in the area.
“We just wanted to help, and we're retired now,” Liz said. “We don't have a million things to do, and we have the time and the energy now to do it.”
Their route — one of seven volunteer routes within the Palestine area — takes about an hour to deliver, though the deBessonets clock in more minutes than that. For starters, the couple drives into town from their home in the Piney Woods, near Frankston. Once on the route, it’s a teamwork effort. The two have it nailed down, considering they’ve done it for the past couple of years. John controls the wheels and Liz handles the meals, hopping out at respective locations and scampering up to the door with the goods.
Liz said she tries to “check up” on the residents at each location, since some may not interact with anyone all week outside of Meals on Wheels volunteers.
“You get to know the people,” Liz said. “And if there are problems, you can report back, if they're ok or they’re not ok or whatever.”