The Art of Healthy Living: Mayor rides with volunteers
Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, Oro Valley Mayor Paul Loomis, right, and Interfaith Community Service volunteer Peter Graf deliver food a couple weeks ago. Loomis was on hand to help bring attention to the program's need for voluntary drivers during the summer months when other volunteers leave for cooler climates.

Oro Valley Mayor Paul Loomis recently spent the afternoon helping volunteers with Tucson Interfaith Community Services deliver meals to some of the town’s older residents.

For some, the deliveries mean much more than sustenance.

“Just to have some other people come during the day helps,” said Joanne Hogan, whose 86-year-old mother Alice Shipman receives meals a couple times per week.

Recipients pay up to $6.50 for each meal, but can qualify for reduced rates. Delivery drivers work on a strictly volunteer basis.

Mayor Loomis joined Peter and Inger Graf, who volunteer delivering meals a few days a week.

“We have the time now, and it really makes you realize there is another world out there besides the one you live in,” Peter said.

The couple retired to the Northwest about three years ago after living in Michigan for 30 years.

The Grafs cover one of the Interfaith Community Services’ 16 Northwest delivery routes. All told, the service provides meals for 116 residents in the Northwest.

Leaders of the organization say more volunteer drivers are needed for the five-day-a-week service.

Nearly a fourth of the group’s volunteers leave Tucson for cooler climates during the summer. The Grafs, too, soon will head to Colorado, where they spend most of their summers.

Loomis said volunteering often instills in people a sense of accomplishment that makes them want to continue with the work.

“That sense of reward is a personal thing,” Loomis said.

Interfaith Community Services asks that anyone interested in delivering meals or doing other volunteer work contact Sandi Brickley at 297-2738, ext. 217.

More information can be found at the group’s Web site,

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