Meals on Wheels (MOW) of Polk County used its 2018 annual meeting to thank the hundreds of volunteers who prepared and delivered more than 85,000 nutritious, home-cooked meals to homebound people throughout Polk County during the past year.
“We sincerely thank all of the volunteers who make it possible for us to feed homebound people by donating their valuable time to serve as drivers, kitchen and warehouse workers and thrift shop clerks,” said Meals on Wheels Executive Director Susan Eldridge, in welcoming the estimated 200 volunteers, staff and guests who attended the function at Heartland Church in downtown Winter Haven.
The volunteers were rewarded for their support of Meals on Wheels and the estimated 350 homebound people it serves each weekday with a buffet-style dinner prepared by Oasis Catering. This was MOW’s 46th annual meeting.
As she opened the meeting Eldridge thanked Pastor Ed Kendrick of Heartland Church for making his worship hall available to MOW for the annual meeting and dinner. Kendrick, who serves on MOW’s volunteer board of directors, offered a special blessing before the meal was served.
In the business part of the meeting, Treasurer Dan Mann said he was “pleased to report” that MOW is debt free. It was also announced that MOW President Caroline Santiago, Vice President Cari Herrington, Mann, Kendrick and Eldridge will continue serving on the Board of Directors in 2019 along with Mary Ellen Baker, Chris Collany, Steve Griffith, Jeff Hayes, Heather McCarter, Kenny Moore, Ken Nelson, Marilyn Riggs, Cynthia Crowfoot Rignanese, Michael Tanner and Paul Woods.
Eldridge recognized retiring board members Jerry Williams and Sandi Williams for their many years of dedicated service to Meals on Wheels. She also cited Emma Jean Hackle for serving 32 consecutive years as a driver and George Bunda who retired this year after 27 years as a driver. Drivers recognized for reaching the 25-year milestone this year were Ann and Rex Yentes and Anne and Bill Romoser.
Headquartered at 620 Sixth Street in Winter Haven, MOW Polk County is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization that each year prepares and delivers 85,000 meals to homebound people in Winter Haven, Auburndale, Lake Alfred, Dundee, Haines City, Lake Hamilton, Davenport and parts of Lakeland.
On a typical weekday, MOW volunteers visit 350 homes of people mostly over the age of 65 to provide them with nutritious, freshly cooked, hot meals. MOW’s army of 320 volunteers not only deliver meals, but are very often the only people clients have have an opportunity to interact with on a daily basis.
Meals on Wheels of Polk County welcomes volunteers to serve as drivers, kitchen workers, thrift store clerks, fundraisers and board members. Anyone wishing to become a MOW volunteer or client should call Susan Eldridge at 863-299-1616. Information also can be obtained by visiting the MOW Web site at www.mealsonwheelspolk.com.