Meals on Wheels thanks volunteers

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Meals on Wheels of Mahoning County had a special breakfast to thank their volunteers for helping the organization. The program does not receive federal or state funding and needs their helpful volunteers. Pictured are the group's board members and volunteers.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Meals on Wheels of Mahoning County recognized two of their helpful volunteers, Bill Brown and Lori Brennan. They both said that the organization helps fill a need in the community and that it feel great to help.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Meals on Wheels of Mahoning County is celebrating the March for Meals program, a national campaign to raise awareness of seniors living in isolation and others who need the services that Meals on Wheels provides to the community. Pictured are volunteers and board members of Meals on Wheels of Mahoning County.

By ZACK SHIVELY

zshively@vindy.com

Meals on Wheels of Mahoning County had an appreciation breakfast for their volunteers on March 17 during their March for Meals campaign.

The March for Meals campaign is a national program started by Meals on Wheels of America to raise awareness to isolated seniors in the communities around America. The Mahoning County chapter had their appreciation breakfast to coincide with the campaign to thank their drivers.

While some Meals on Wheels organizations receive funding from the government, the Mahoning County chapter does not. They stay maintained through the price of a meal, private donations and grants from local foundations.

Kathy Esseniyi, president of Meals on Wheels of Mahoning County, explained that the breakfast gives the organization an opportunity to thank the drivers and to get all the volunteers together. She said that the organization would not make it without them.

During the breakfast, Esseniyi took time to recognize Bill Brown and Lori Brennan, an important board member and a long-time driver with the organization. Esseniyi handed them an award during the breakfast and spoke about their service to the program.

Brown said that he wanted to help fill a need in the community. He say that a lot of older people had become housebound and sometimes did not have a family on which to rely. He wanted to make sure there was a resource in the community for those people so that they always had someone.

Brennan spoke about how much she enjoyed volunteering with Meal on Wheels. She said it was a very good use of her time and she liked seeing the appreciative people. She liked volunteering with the organization so much that she got her daughter to volunteer with her.

The March for Meals campaign began in 2002. Meals on Wheels of America chose the month because it is the month in which President Richard Nixon amended the Older Americans Act in 1972, which created nutrition programs for senior citizens.

Meals on Wheels of America has more than 5,000 community programs, and each program is run independently. The organization aims to help the elderly with nutrition and remaining able to live at home.

Meals on Wheels of Mahoning County also planned a bubble launch, an annual event at YSU, but a winter storm forced the organization to cancel the event. The launch was aimed to raise awareness of the organization in order to spark interest in younger citizens.

Anyone interested in volunteering for Meals on Wheels of Mahoning County can contact the organization at the phone number 330-744-3585.

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