AP NEWS

Nourishing and inspiring seniors

May 15, 2017

MICHIGAN CITY — Many Meals on Wheels volunteers for La Porte County gathered at Pottawatomie County Club for the annual Meals On Wheels volunteer brunch Wednesday morning.

According to Cheryl Daure, executive director of Meals on Wheels La Porte County, Meals on Wheels has been going strong for 43 years and has been organizing the brunch for volunteers for more than 20 years. Daure added that meals on wheels had delivered 46,884 meals to 266 clients in La Porte County in 2016.

“Sixty percent of our clients say that the volunteer who delivers their meal will be the only person they see some days. This program is not just about nutrition, it’s about the moments of human connection that nourish and inspire seniors, as well as the volunteer,” she said.

During the brunch, a special appearance was made by State Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City. Pelath is the current Indiana House Democratic Leader. The Michigan City native made a speech addressing the concern of funding for Meals on Wheels.

“I’m going to assure you that whatever is going on in Washington D.C., in the state of Indiana, there’s a very deep commitment to Meals on Wheels from both sides of the political spectrum,” Pelath said. “We will work so you can continue to do what you do for your friends and neighbors.”

In addition to addressing Meals on Wheels funding, Pelath revealed that at the latest Indiana legislative session, members of the Republican and Democratic party came together and agreed to make vast improvements on the South Shore railroad in the future. Pelath said he believes this is important because the South Shore Line railroad provides people with employment, gives people from other cities the opportunity to live in the community, and allows people to travel to other job opportunities easily.

“We need this. Every community needs the chance for opportunity and growth. It’s non-negotiable,” he said. “If you’re not growing and you don’t have hope for the future, we won’t have the type of community that we dream about and deserve.”

Pelath said he hopes to see improvement in the South Shore Line railroad within the next two years, as well as improve Michigan City for future generations.

“I hope that this will improve the lives of mine and your children and grandchildren. This is really about improving Michigan City and La Porte County,” he said.

In addition to listening to Pelath, Meals on Wheels of La Porte County unveiled its new advertising campaign, “Let’s do Lunch.” The campaign, in partnership with Pro Bono Advertising Agency, aims to overcome myths and stereotypes about seniors in today’s society. The advertisements, which can be found on YouTube and in print ads, tells stories of the 2.4 million seniors that Meals on Wheels serve each year. Daure made it a point in the presentation to let people know the stories are not about isolation and hunger, but rather the stories of the lives of their clients. Her hope is that this new campaign will encourage a younger generation to volunteer for Meals on Wheels.

“Our new logo represents a new movement and we continue to move forward with meals on wheels to provide not only food, but a wellness check and a smile. It’s a valuable service to our community and our volunteers get as much out of it as we do,” she said.

Daure also reminded the volunteers that while society celebrates youth, senior citizens are just as important.

“We live in a society that celebrates youth, which is OK, but at times it ignores and gives stereotypes to the elderly but we know first hand that seniors in this country are among the most interesting people with life long lessons and stories,” Daure said.

The brunch concluded with certificates of years of service being given to various volunteers and organizations and the newest advertisement for Meals on Wheels America’s was also shown. The video featured clients who explained things they have experienced throughout their life and why Meals on Wheels is so important to them. Volunteers that attended the event also read comments that they have received from clients in La Porte County.

“Thank you for all that you do and god bless you all. My nutrition is much better and I’m eating more vegetables,” said one of the comments.

“Thank you, there were months of your service that have helped me. The volunteers are wonderful people and I consider them my friends. Your service saved my life and I am forever grateful,” said another.

To see the Meals on Wheels America advertising campaign go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1gqK95m6mM, or go to https://www.laportecountymealsonwheels.com/ for additional information and to learn how to volunteer.