Picture 1: Missy Kauffman & Mia at the Foodbank Picture 2: Missy Kauffman & Marshall Pamerleau
Three days a week, Missy Kauffman delivers meals to homebound seniors in San Antonio through Meals on Wheels. She also worked for the SA FoodBank at the mass distribution sites.
Missy and her husband, David, are considered by their doctors to be recovered COVID 19 patients. “We are part of a small number of people who got the virus really early on and are now likely immune. After I recovered, I wanted to help and landed on Meals on Wheels and the SA FoodBank. The clients served through Meals on Wheels are in desperate need of food, but for most of the people, it also serves as much needed human contact since many seniors are isolating alone. I hang the bag of meals on the doorknob and back up. When they answer the door, we chat a little and talk about things they might need, but mostly about things that don’t really matter. They are all so grateful. Many laugh at how funny it is to answer the door to someone wearing a mask, hat and gloves.”
Missy’s husband David, a professional musician, was touring in early March, providing worship performances at churches during the Easter season. “It was so quick” says Missy. “David was performing in churches in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Quarantine measures followed him in every town he left. They cancelled remaining dates to return home.” Shortly after a fellow tour performer fell ill and tested positive for Covid19.
David was sick two days later, experiencing low grade fever and flu-like symptoms. Missy spent hours trying to find a provider to test him. “This was early on – in mid-March - when testing was so scarce. And since David was not in the high-risk demographic, we were not getting much traction for getting him tested.”
A clerk for US District Court Judge Pulliam, Missy was already working from home and quarantined. “Fortunately, the courthouse began work-at-home measures for chambers staff before I was exposed. No one really had official policy on dealing with this, but our federal courthouse handled it well.”
Shortly after David fell ill, Missy developed symptoms. They both tested negative for flu and their doctors treated them as Covid19 positive. “They basically told us to quarantine and recover at home. With David’s exposure, his fellow singer’s positive test result and our textbook symptoms, our doctors had little doubt as to what they were treating us for. It truly was the sickest either of us have ever been, but according to the doctors, we were considered intermediate cases. I can’t imagine what hospitalized patients are dealing with.”
“We both feel blessed to have recovered and to be in a position that we do not have to worry about financial instability. David is a realtor, and his business never faltered. So, when we came out on the other side of illness, I became keenly aware of others who are hit hard financially and physically. Volunteering is my way to say ‘thank you’ and to stand in the gap for those who need help.”
Volunteering has been an uplifting experience that also curbs some of their frustration. “We are not part of the official count of San Antonio Covid19 patients because we never were permitted a test while we had symptoms. We were only able to get tested well after we recovered. So, of course, the tests were inconclusive. But now we can’t qualify to give plasma, either, because we never had a positive test result. It seems a waste of any possible antibodies and immunity we might have.”
While grateful to be out of quarantine and healthy again, the Kauffmans share, “Our experience reveals that the official numbers are likely underreported. And while the illness can be debilitating and scary, you can recover. Most of those who get sick can recover at home. It is also discouraging to read about people violating the shelter in place orders because that only prolongs the need for quarantine and the hardship on families.”
Their daughter, Mia, is home from college and also volunteers with Missy. Missy and Mia wear their face masks and gloves and deliver meals, a few minutes of company, and a healthy dose of hope and reassurance to isolating seniors that their community cares about them.
If you are in a position to deliver meals you can learn more here: https://www.mowsatx.org/volunteer-form or show up at their facility at 4306 Northwest Loop 410 (Callaghan Rd), Monday – Thursday between 10 and 11 am.
Know of someone in our SABA community making a difference? Please share at firstname.lastname@example.org