MICHIGAN CITY — Local volunteers were recognized during the annual Volunteer Appreciation Brunch held at Pottawattomie Country Club on May 9.
The event was attended by more than 100 volunteers, the Meals on Wheels Board of Directors and staff. Jack Mueller, Director of Area 2 Agency on Aging, was the keynote speaker.
La Porte County Meals on Wheels was awarded the Age of Excellence Award for the agency/program serving low income residents. The award recognized Meals on Wheels dedicated commitment to giving outstanding service to older adults and the disabled while supporting independence.
“Many people see the needs around them, but not everyone commits to doing something about it. You chose to make a difference and in doing so, have impacted the lives of others in immeasurable ways,” Mueller said to volunteers.
Mueller shared the nomination text, “This winner is an agency that provides hot, nutritious meals to homebound individuals who reside in La Porte County. The agency raises local funds to augment federal funds to serve more elderly and disabled in need. Volunteers deliver hot nutritious meals every day. But Research shows that those who receive Meals on Wheels receive so much more – those who receive Meals on Wheels are significantly less lonely, are less worried about staying in their homes, and said they felt safer. The research also found that those receiving meals experienced fewer falls and hospitalizations.
This agency provides information to their clients on other resources and offers a special connection to the community through special touches such as distributing cards to their homebound clients that were hand made by local students. This nominee’s program is an exemplary Meals on Wheels Program, serving up a lot of love.”
Cheryl Daurer, executive director of La Porte County Meals on Wheels said, “Our name may say ‘Meals on Wheels,’ but as important as the meal delivered is the fact that, for many seniors, the volunteer who delivers it sometimes is the only person the client will see and interact with. Sixty-eight percent of our clients say on some days their volunteer is the only person they see. The delivery isn’t just about nutrition; it’s about the moments of human connection that nourish and inspire the senior and the volunteer.”
Based on client surveys, Daurer reported 100 percent said their meal delivery person is courteous, they would recommend the program and they enjoyed the meal that is delivered to them.
Gratitude was expressed to the army of volunteers for La Porte County Meals on Wheels. Daurer shared some data about Meals on Wheels including: In 2017 volunteers delivered a total of 45,737 meals to 243 local residents.
“Our volunteers make a difference in the lives they touch every time they drop off a meal and leave with a full heart. They make the world a better place,” Daurer said.
The following individuals were honored during the event for the most number of days volunteered during 2017: Bill Shawver, Jean Kleinschmidt, Bob Uremovich, Dale Schultz, Brownie Robb, Alan Buvelot, Tim Griffin, Jon & Connie Venice, and Bill Fariss. Churches and organizations recognized for their teams of volunteers include: Elks Lodge, Exchange Club, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Long Beach Realty, Michigan City Christian Church, Police Department, River of Life Church, St. John’s United Church of Christ, and St. Paul Lutheran Church.
Upcoming ways to support Meals on Wheels: Panera Give Back on May 31 from 4 to 8 p.m; Al’s Michigan City locations June 20 to 26 donate at the register; Five Guys Give Back on June 28 all day; and a bake sale on June 30 at Main Street Farmers Market. Proceeds will go to support the local Meals on Wheels.