NewsPay It Forward


90-year-old volunteer delivers meal to elderly, homebound in Hudsonville

Posted at 3:00 PM, Nov 24, 2017

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich., -- Marie DeVries is used to getting some interesting reactions when she hits the road to deliver meals to residents in need.

At 90, the retired nurse is still driving and volunteering her time with the Sunset Retirement Communities and Services' Meals at Home program.

"Everyone always says in the publicity that you read, 'old people got to keep moving.' So, I have to keep moving," DeVries said. "It's fun".

DeVries first started working as a delivery driver when the program began 20 years ago, alongside her husband. Despite his passing 12 years ago, she has continued to do it.

The program provides daily meals to elderly and homebound residents throughout Jenison, Grandville and Hudsonville. Around 80-100 meals are delivered each day.

Like the other volunteers, DeVries covers the cost of her own gas each time she drives her familiar Hudsonville route, every other Thursday.

"It's all dedicated volunteers like Marie that make this program happen," said Sue Hamm, the Executive Director of Sunset Manor and Village. "[Marie] really lives the program, not only serving the residents herself, but also creating an excellent example for others... I think she's incredibly inspiring, and just a real blessing to Sunset and the residents we serve."

FOX 17 got to ride-along with DeVries on her route earlier this month.

Sometimes she will bring her great grandkids along for the ride, and take them out for lunch afterwards. Like the meal recipients, DeVries also looks forward to her deliveries.

"Cheer them on a little bit, ask how they're doing," DeVries told FOX 17 News. "It's just a feeling of satisfaction, that you're doing something to honor God."

"She's our most favorite deliverer," said Paul Tameling, who receives the meals, along with his wife. "It's amazing how she gets around here. It is really, really something."

Along with her meal deliveries, DeVries has a long history of volunteering. Every Monday, she volunteers with her oldest daughter at Love, Inc. In the past, she's also served as a hospice volunteer; in addition to volunteer work with the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC), now known as World Renew.

DeVries is also a mother of seven, with 16 grandchildren and 36 great grandchildren.

As for how long she plans to continue volunteering with the Meals at Home program, DeVries said "it's in the Lord's hands".

"As long as I'm able, until they fire me," she joked. "But, I don't think they will."

"She's very exceptional," said her daughter, Karen VanDyke. "She gets hugs and a lot of people love her. She's just sweet."

As the Pay it Forward Person of the Month, DeVries is receiving a prize of $300 dollars.

Know someone who should be featured next month? Nominate them here.

Meet Danette Nordhof, our October Pay it Forward Person of the Month.