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  Meals on Wheels honors volunteers at awards lunch

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News

Published on April 18, 2018 with No Comments

Meals on Wheels volunteers gather for a photo at the awards luncheon April 12.

On April 12, Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana treated volunteers to a lunch, dessert and an awards ceremony honoring their dedication to the organization to celebrate National Volunteer Month.

The Annual Volunteer Luncheon took place at Avalon Manor in Hobart, prompting a semi-formal dress code and a light-hearted atmosphere. The event was hosted by Volunteer Manager Joan Vith, coordinator of the event.

Vith said the event is a way to recognize the hard work the volunteers put in every day at Meals on Wheels. Last year, volunteers saved the organization $270,000.

“They are saving us,” said Vith. “They have hearts bigger than mine. We can’t do this without them.”

Meals on Wheels recognized more than 50 volunteers at the luncheon, including Debbie Tylka, a volunteer at the office of MOW and event planning committee member. Tylka is on her second year at MOW and was one of the recipients of the Bronze Presidential Service Award, which honors someone with more than 100 hours of service.

“I like looking at people’s faces,” Tylka said when referring to her favorite part of the event. “Even when they leave, they’re happy. I think people like to be recognized.”

MOW operates with 650 volunteers from around the region, a notable difference from the three volunteers the organization started with in 1977 when it first began.

The development of the organization was shared with the guests by Executive Director Sandra Noe, who related the growth of Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana to the growth of a tree.

Each guest received a small bag of M&M’s to symbolize seeds. Noe instructed the guests to eat the seeds of volunteerism and continue to grow MOW’s tree of life from within.

“I feel like I feel every day; blessed,” Noe said. “I’m blessed to be able to see the difference each volunteer makes with our clients.”

Noe said the event is just a small thank-you to the volunteers at Meals on Wheels. She said she enjoys seeing everyone come together for a cause they are all passionate about.

“They get their recognition every day,” she said. “It’s a swelling in their soul when they hand our clients their meals, the awards are not important.”

For more information on how to make a difference with Meals on Wheels, contact the organization at 219-756-3663 or visit the Northwest Indiana location at 8446 Virginia St. in Merrillville.

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