Meals On Wheels of Sarasota Celebrates the Spirit of Giving at Annual Volunteer Appreciation Night

March 3, 2017

SARASOTA - According to the Meriam-Webster Dictionary, the term volunteer means "a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service." But during the annual Meals on Wheels (MOW) of Sarasota Volunteer Appreciation reception, the term volunteer took on a much more vital meaning.

During a reception at Amore Restaurant hosted by Howard Rooks, MOW Board member and restaurant owner, Dick Robbins, MOW Board President, told the volunteers, families and staff in attendance, "Our 400 plus volunteers provide more than just a meal. In many cases, they are the lifeline to needy seniors, veterans and children that need our help and depend on us as a safety check."

Robbins reminded the guests about the difference they are making to provide a solution for the ongoing and
increasing need for Meals on Wheels.

"One in six seniors in Florida doesn't know how or when he or she will next eat, 115,109 seniors are isolated, 621,437 seniors are hungry and 1,525,693 seniors are living near poverty the poverty line. "However, statistics show that our recipients credit the program with changing their lives."

83% say MOW meals improved their health
92% say MOW meals enable them to remain living in their home
87% say MOW makes them feel more safe, secure and less isolated

"For all of these needs, and more, there is Meals on Wheels of Sarasota," says Robbins

Meals on Wheels of Sarasota prepares and delivers 500 meals a day with only a small seven person staff. In comparison to most Meals on Wheels, those organizations turn out the same number of meals but with double or triple the staff that Sarasota MOW does. However, thanks to more than 400 volunteers, nutritious meals are delivered six days a week to Sarasota's homebound.

"On behalf of our organization and Board of Directors, I cannot say thank you often enough to our volunteers," says Marjorie Broughton, MOW Executive Director. "I am astounded every day by each of our volunteers' commitment to this organization and the dedication each of you makes to your volunteer efforts"

During the dinner, the following people were recognized for their years of volunteer service:

25 Years
Ian Sharp

20 Years
Anna Caragiulo

15 Years
Fred Heina, Kristi Kanellos, Dotty Stoddard, and Dick Wetih.

10 Years
Carolyn Blum, Melanie Brunemann, Evelyn Chilson, John Lanzetta, Margaret Lanzetta, Elizabeth Lucchesi, Betty Shimet, Christa Williams, and Terry Williams.

5 Years
Jay Andrews, Maggie Andrews, Joe Artale, Elizabeth Ausseldorfer, Theresa Brodrick, John Cesare, Sandy Checca, Carolyn Ginalski, Betty Gross, Edward Gross, Sandy Lightfoot, Bill Majerus, Angie Ramos, Joe Ramos, Terry Rawson, Patrick Sanders, Joe Stephen, Nora Stephan, Judy Thibault, Fred Thibault, Rhonda Villanueva, and George Violette.

Broughton also acknowledged the tremendous volunteer support fromorganizations such as Temple Beth Israel, Jewish Federation, Pine Shores Presbyterian Church, St. Martha's Catholic Church, Siesta Key Chapel, Downtown Kiwanis Club of Sarasota, Lynn Koy's Caldwell Banker firm, Inspired Living at Sarasota, Benderson Development Group, Microsoft, Federal Express, Fusion Healthcare, Horizon Insurance, Out of Door Academy and Genesis HealthCare.

About Meals On Wheels

Feeding Sarasota's hungry, disabled and homebound since 1971, Meals On Wheels is a local, community based nonprofit that delivers 160,000 nutritious meals per year to persons in need who are unable to provide or prepare a meal for themselves in their home.

MOW's services are geared towards those with the greatest physical, social and economic need who want to remain independent in their own homes but cannot shop or prepare meals for themselves because of a physically-challenged health condition.

For more information on Meals On Wheels, its mission and volunteering, please visit www.mealsonwheelsofsarasota.org .