As we approach the end of another year of service at Homebond Meals, Inc., we want to share a couple of stories of Thanksgiving.
First from our Executive Director, Barb Umber:
After 25+ years the office chairs at Homebound Meals were failing. The hydraulics, if they were working when we started the day, would slowly lower until all of the staff were seen to be peering over their desk tops. We put out a call on social media looking for someone getting rid of or replacing their office chairs. Anything would be newer than what we had!
Less than 2 days later we received a call from Scott Hecht owner of Waynedale Lawn Care and Snow Removal. Coincidentally they have a client who happened to also be our client and shared the request with him! In addition, Scott’s wife and children drive as substitute for Homebound Meals, so they knew about us. They said that they wanted to deliver 4 brand new office chairs!
Homebound staff found a little piece of heaven in their new chairs. No constant adjustments, wheels the would not roll or chair back that would slip for no reason. Just like children – the first thing everyone did in their new chairs was to sit and spin! Words do not seem enough to say thank you to the Hecht family and Waynedale Lawn Care, but thank-you. Your kindness and generosity is humbling.
At Homebound Meals we are also blessed to be a blessing to others. As you can imagine, since Homebound Meals started in the 1970’s delivering meals to the elderly and home bound, the original recipients of the meals from those early days have passed away. Each year we continue to grow as your generosity with time as a volunteer driver and/or financial supporter of Homebound Meals sustains this needed program for over 40 years.
Sometimes when one of our clients passes away, we are reminded of the impact of the relationships that are created. Here’s the handwritten note from the sister of one of our clients who passed away this year:
Have a blessed holiday season, from everyone at Homebound Meals, Inc. of Fort Wayne!
Homebound Meals, Inc. Executive Director Barb Umber announced that a $2,500 grant has been received in support of the continuing efforts of our non-profit organization, “Special thanks to the Glick organization graciously donating this grant to assist with getting hot medically tailored meals to seniors in our financially challenged sector. This contribution will assist Homebound Meals in delivering over 36,000 meals this year to Fort Wayne residents in our program. We are humbled and grateful.”
This grant was announced in observance of World Food Day, a global day of action for those who are food insecure, October 16, 2017, the Gene B. Glick Company announced it has awarded more than $300,000 to 50 organizations across eight states that are working to end food insecurity through Glick Philanthropies, a family of charitable entities, funds and initiatives focused on building community and creating opportunity.
“Our company has a long and proud tradition of giving back to the communities where we operate through our corporate social responsibility efforts and association with Glick Philanthropies,” said David Barrett, president and CEO of the Gene B. Glick Company and Glick Philanthropies. “People form the heart of our communities, and we cannot build great communities when our neighbors go to bed hungry. This program helps provide meals for children, families and seniors who lack consistent access to high-quality, nutritious food, and reduces food insecurity as an obstacle to self-sufficiency.”
Forty-two million Americans –about one in eight– struggle with hunger, according to data from Feeding America. That includes 13 million children and more than 5 million seniors. Too often, individuals and families facing food insecurity in the United States must choose between their nutrition and basic needs such as utilities, medical care and transportation in order to make ends meet.
The 50 organizations selected for Feeding Those in Need grants were nominated by Gene B. Glick Company employees at various apartment communities across the U.S. Employees were asked to recommend the two local organizations and programs they believe make the biggest impact in addressing hunger and food security in the communities where they live and work. The Gene B. Glick Company includes 5 apartment communities in Fort Wayne, some of which have residents receiving meals from Homebound Meals, Inc of Fort Wayne.
Homebound Meals, Inc received a $25,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program to support meal delivery in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This donation will support on the ongoing efforts to provide hot, medically tailored meals via the volunteer network of Homebound Meals, Inc. of Fort Wayne.
“This is such an amazing gift and opportunity,” said Barb Umber, Homebound Meals Executive Director. “This will allow us to expand in areas where the need is not being met.”
The grant was presented to Peg Maginn, Board President, during a check presentation ceremony, September 29, 2017 at The Summit. During the ceremony, Walmart store manager Brock Heyneman spoke about the importance of the Homebound Meals organization and the impact on the local community.
“At Walmart, we understand that organizations such as Homebound Meals, Inc of Fort Wayne are essential to building stronger communities. They share our values and are committed to helping Hoosiers in need live better,” said Heyneman. “Through this donation, we are hopeful that Homebound Meals will be able to extend their reach in the Fort Wayne community.”
The mission of Homebound Meals, Inc.of Fort Wayne is to enhance the quality of life and health of the homebound community by the delivery of hot, nutritional meals and visits by the HBM volunteer drivers.
Last fiscal year alone, more than 34,700 meals were distributed to the clients of Homebound Meals, Inc. of Fort Wayne, by the volunteer drivers who logged nearly 49,000 miles, donating almost 11,000 service hours. The efforts of the volunteers were also recognized during the luncheon at The Summit on September 29th.
All of this is accomplished without the support of government dollars. Rather it was funded in part by generous community donations like this wonderful grant from Walmart. The need for this service continues to grow and is only limited by the number of volunteers and financial gifts. If you can help, contact our office at 260-422-3296, or click on the links at the top of this page.
46 years and counting.
From the origins of the Fort Wayne based Homebound Meals, Inc program in 1971 to today, it has been the people volunteering to serve people that have made the difference.
What kind of difference?
Homebound Meals, Inc has made it possible for thousands of men and women to have a hot nutritious meal at lunchtime in the comfort of their own home. Without these daily visits and deliveries, many of these Fort Wayne neighbors would not have been able to stay in their own home for as long as they have.
Every year we thank and honor the men and women who make it possible by volunteering their time and making those deliveries. We will be having our volunteer luncheon later this month, but first a few pictures from the past couple of years.
Homebound Meals of Fort Wayne relies on the generosity of both financial donations and donations of time.
Sometimes that donation of time can be used to benefit others beyond those receiving the meals as we experienced this summer.
Easter Seals Arc of Northeast Indiana has a 50+ year history as a social service organization that works with both children and adults who have developmental disabilities. Recently they began volunteering as route drivers to deliver meals to the clients of Homebound Meals.
What a wonderful experience this has been to provide Easter Seals Arc clients, under the supervision of an Easter Seals Arc Direct Support Professional with the opportunity to serve and give back!
“Often, we’re the only ones people see each week. Sometimes you get very close to a few individuals. They get to know our names and even the names of our family, and we get to know them.”
Those are the words of Theresa Gannon who along with her husband Paul are volunteer drivers for Homebound Meals of Fort Wayne. Paul and Theresa Gannon were recently featured in the Today’s Catholic publication August 13, 2017 print edition and online at TodaysCatholic.Org in a story written by Vince LaBarbera, also of Fort Wayne.
Here’s more of their story from Today’s Catholic:
“When I got ready to retire from Parkview IT six years ago, I thought about what I might want to do to avoid becoming a couch potato,” said Paul. After seeing an HBM ad in the newspaper, he called and eventually rode along on a route with another driver to see if he would like it.
He did enjoy it, so he drove the route by himself for about six months before asking his wife, Theresa, if she would like to accompany him.
Usually, he drives and she takes the meals to each client. The Gannons currently make their deliveries before noon to about 12 individuals — driving nearly 20 miles — and usually briefly visit with each person as well. “Often, we’re the only ones people see each week. Sometimes you get very close to a few individuals,” said Theresa. “They get to know our names and even the names of our family, and we get to know them.” The couple has switched roles on occasion, once when Paul broke his wrist and couldn’t drive. He still goes by himself occasionally, when they’re babysitting a grandchild.
Exactly what is the routine for volunteer drivers like Paul and Theresa?
The Gannons explained that drivers pick up two coolers: one with hot food and one with cold. A clipboard is provided, giving directions to clients’ homes. There are no more than 12 clients on each route. Currently, the Gannons are visiting seven residences. The time required to run a route rarely is more than an hour and a half, they said. “If you use the coolers, they have to be returned to the pickup location,” said Paul, “so we use our own.” Volunteers drive their own vehicle, usually just once a week.
If someone is not home, the resident places a cooler near the door to contain the meal. “If no one answers the door, we’re provided with phone numbers for the resident, a relative or neighbor nearby to call — as well as for the Homebound Meals downtown office,” said Paul.
Thank you Paul and Theresa for your commitment and thanks to Vince and the staff at Today’s Catholic for the story and publicity for Homebound Meals.
“Homebound Meals is a good program, and something worthwhile that can be done by volunteers without spending taxpayer dollars,” said Paul. “But it is a commitment,” he added, “and not something we can shirk on a Thursday because we don’t feel like going.”
Want to know more about becoming a volunteer driver like Paul and Theresa? Call the Homebound Meals office at 260-422-3296 or visit the Volunteer page on our website.
(photos and quotes are from the original article published by Today’s Catholic)
Fort Wayne is filled with generosity on both a personal and corporate level. Look around and you’ll see numerous not-for-profit organizations and foundations that are providing thousands of dollars and man-hours for the benefit of the Fort Wayne residents.
Homebound Meals of Fort Wayne is one of those that has been quietly serving the homebound since 1971. As you take a look at the history of the organization, you’ll see it began with one route delivering 4 meals and quickly grew during the first year and ever since.
Fast forward to 2017 and the internet age is in full swing. Communication online has replaced many of the ways we used to stay in touch 20, 30, 40 years ago. Neighbors don’t often know their neighbors the way they did when Homebound Meals began in the 1970’s.
That’s the purpose of this website for Homebound Meals of Fort Wayne and our occasional Social Media posts on Facebook.
As we update the website and share via Facebook, we invite you to share the message too with your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers.
Homebound Meals of Fort Wayne has one purpose and we’ll be sharing more on the stories and antidotes both here and at Facebook.
We also want to answer any questions you have, feel free to leave a comment or fill out the comment form. If you need to contact the Homebound meals offices they are staffed weekday mornings and you can call 260.422.3296.
Due to the nature of the service we provide, there is not a regular gathering of the homebound residents we serve, but there is an annual gathering of the volunteers that make Homebound meals operate smoothly and efficiently. We’ll share more on that event soon.