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.