April is a very special month - Volunteer Appreciation Month! With the support of our amazing volunteers, our neighbors in need are able to receive daily nutritious meals and social contact. Volunteers are an integral part of our day-to-day activities. They support our kitchen team with preparing food and organizing all of the meals, and they ensure that each client receives meals that meet their dietary needs. They package the meals so they are ready for our meal delivery volunteers, who then deliver them directly to our clients’ doors. Our volunteers drive to multiple locations throughout Lafayette, Louisville, Erie, and Superior to deliver meals each day. Our volunteers also take time to check in and chat with our clients. Sometimes, this is the only social interaction they have all day.
After meals have been delivered, volunteers begin preparing for service at our Coal Creek Café. Our volunteer Cafe Coordinator ensures everything runs smoothly, overseeing volunteers who are serving drinks, taking food orders, and serving meals, all while socializing with our guests. After lunch, we often have activities facilitated by volunteers, such as sing-alongs and other events. Volunteers also assist us with administrative needs, including data entry, thank you notes, serving on our Board of Directors, and more.
With the cost of living consistently increasing, many people are struggling to afford nutritious food along with other basic needs. With the Emergency SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – previously known as Food Stamps) ending in March of 2023, more people are at risk of food insecurity and hunger. Since the start of 2023, we have seen tremendous growth in the number of clients in need of meals. In January of 2023, Coal Creek Meals on Wheels served 3,995 meals. In March, we served 4,960 meals - this was a record number of meals served by our organization (in the graph above, the dark blue color represents delivery meals and the light blue color represents cafe meals). In just two months, we saw an increase of 1,000 meals served. How did we do it? With the help of our amazing volunteers! In 2022, we had 271 volunteers who put in a total of 12,371 hours. So far in 2023, 280 volunteers have shared 3,056 hours with us, ensuring that all of our neighbors in need have access to nutritious meals and social contact.
When we say that our volunteers are superheroes, we mean it! They allow Coal Creek Meals on Wheels to thrive and function properly. Elaine Scanlon, CCMOW Volunteer Manager, knows firsthand how important volunteers are to our organization. “Our volunteers touch my heart each day. They quietly go about their work, preparing, packaging, bagging, and bringing meals and friendly smiles to others. Whether through our home delivery program, our café, or a multitude of other tasks - they serve from their hearts with humility and compassion. Without our volunteers, CCMOW would cease to exist.”
Our clients also appreciate everything our volunteers do, sharing some of the following comments during our annual survey:
“I thank the volunteers for being so helpful.”
“The servers at Josephine Commons are wonderful.”
“I feel a sense of security knowing that a meal will be delivered. Staff and volunteer staff are wonderful.”
Our volunteers truly change lives! Thank you to our volunteers for all that you do - our community is vastly better because of your efforts. You are a part of the Coal Creek Meals on Wheels family, and this family grows stronger every day because of all that you do. Happy Volunteer Appreciation Month!