- Written by Carol Foote, Development Assistant
- Published: 15 March 2018
With the Meals on Wheels Walkathon season upon us, I had the opportunity to walk and chat with members of the Warwick Walkers, who send a walk team to the annual fundraiser for Meals on Wheels. Present were Fredericka Fellows, Carol Foote (my mother-in-law, who offered me the invitation), Betsy Lochhead, Anne Miner, Nancy King, Nancy Kilhart, and her adult daughter, Sherry Fantoli.
The Warwick Walkers is a group that has been around, in varying constellations, for 25 years. Anyone is welcomed to walk along with the current good-humored and energetic members. They hold to a schedule of walking around 9 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and their route is a two-mile roundtrip stretch on Hastings Pond Road. Some complete the distance while others manage what they can, but they all look forward to the quick check-in as the slower group comes together with the faster group.
On Fridays, after walking, they gather at one of their homes for coffee and varied conversation. Nancy King shares, “Sometimes there are 12 (walkers) and sometimes there are 4, but we all try to make it for coffee, whether we walk or not.” This Friday, Carol hosted the group.
Chatting from the moment they enter, everyone makes themselves at home, filling their mugs with coffee and winding their way to the dining room. Carol declares, “We never run out of conversation – EVER!” That morning they covered family updates, travel, parenting lessons they tried to teach, lima beans, kindling, and more.
No matter the content, they agree that gathering together is the most important part of the Warwick Walkers group. Nancy Kilhart shared that, during a recent physical, her doctor asked about her exercise routine. She reported that she walks three days a week, attends an exercise class, and visits with her walking group over coffee on Fridays. He responded, “Perhaps the most important thing that you do is to visit with that group.”
It was following the death of Carol’s husband when she became a Warwick Walker. Her friend Betsy simply asked, “Would you like to walk with us?” A friendly support system existed and was ready to include her when she needed it. She’s now been walking for almost 20 years.
As these women walked and talked, ate and laughed, it was easy for all of us to appreciate that food and company is such a vital combination. The members of the Warwick Walkers group mirror the same important elements that the Meals on Wheels program offers, and they recognize the importance of this programs’ availability to our local elders.