Former Meals on Wheels director Beulah McField, center, gets a hug from kitchen volunteer Neddia Bromley, left, and cook Janet James. - Photo: Jewel Levy

Although retired, Beulah McField, who has been at the helm of Meals and Wheels for the past 20 years, continues to assist with the day-to-day operations of the program.

Ms. McField, who retired as managing director of the charity in October last year when she handed the reins over to Erin Bodden, remains on the charity’s board.

She said her mission was to see Meals on Wheels in all five districts of Grand Cayman. Now that goal has been reached, she can move on.

“I felt that I had fulfilled my vision [for] Meals on Wheels,” she said. “It is healthy financially; it’s now at a charitable stage where people trust it; it’s reliable and transparent; it has a fantastic board that is committed, and I felt it was time to move over.”

She said her successor, Ms. Bodden, is “a fantastic new managing director,” who had worked hard to bring the East End kitchen to fruition.

“She has the heart to see [Meals on Wheels] continue to grow,” Ms. McField added.

While she has enjoyed her many years with Meals on Wheels, she admits that the one thing she disliked about the program was fundraising.

“Begging, that wasn’t my thing,” she said with a laugh, “even though I got good at it.”

To prepare for retirement, she said, she started changing her mindset, and when she walked in to announce her retirement to her staff, their only comment was, “Why you look so happy?”

With a more backseat role in the program, Ms. McField says she now has more time to spend visiting seniors and to reunite with people she had lost touch with. She also now spends more time assisting Children and Family Services, the Needs Assessment Unit, Cayman HospiceCare, the Cancer Society and other organizations.

She also manages Rehoboth Ministries’ after-school program and still oversees the Meals on Wheels kitchen for George Town.

“You can retire and never put that business out of your head … it’s the disconnect you need to have so you can say, ‘OK, that part of my life is closed … it’s finished,’ and then move on. I am busier now but without the anxiety, pressure and high demand of running the program,” she said.

Ms. McField was born in Cayman and grew up in New York. She later moved to Miami to work with the Dade County government in the human resources department as an intake referral officer. That was where she had her first interaction with Meals on Wheels.

Years later, she returned home to Cayman to work with her mother and father in their store. She found employment at Hampstead, a local office supply store in 1990 and later with Red Sail Sports as a retail manager. She also volunteered with the NCVO before starting Rehoboth Ministries, which includes a church and an after-school program.

Her father passed away in 1992 and her mother Martha decided she needed to do something to work through her pain. She started cooking on Sunday mornings and on her way to church, she would deliver meals to seniors.

When her mother could no longer do it, Ms. McField began cooking meals at the Rehoboth Centre kitchen, providing lunches for 14 seniors twice a week. Today, the program feeds more than 200 seniors islandwide.

“I got a lot out of it,” Ms. McField said of her time at Meals on Wheels. “I was not the best people-person, but I learned to cook, fundraise and help the seniors … when I put it all together, it has made me a better person and enriched my life.”