Jamestown Area Meals On Wheels Recognizes Volunteers During Annual Reception

Without volunteers, Meals on Wheels would not be the organization it currently is.

The Jamestown Area Meals on Wheels board of directors held its annual volunteer recognition reception and meeting on Tuesday at the Chautauqua County Airport Tarmac Cafe.

According to Barrie Yochim, Jamestown Meals on Wheels executive director, this is the 45th annual volunteer recognition event.

“This is one day of the year that we thank volunteers,” Yochim said. “Without volunteers, we would have to pay for people to deliver meals or people would be on waiting lists – these volunteers get meals to the people who need them.”

Yochim also said that more than 100 volunteers, from senior citizens to local businesses, which help the organization by delivering meals across nine routes.

Nancy Lahnen, Jamestown Area Meals on Wheels board president spoke to the importance of the event.

“Our annual event is to honor our volunteers for their dedication and time delivering meals to senior citizens and homebound of our community. While they deliver healthy meals to our recipients, volunteers have an opportunity to spend a few minutes socializing with them and at the same time, determine their well-being,” Lahnen said. “Many folks may not have any relatives or contacts nearby which means these volunteers are their only source of communication. Should the occasion arise where they are in need of medical attention, they can make sure they are taken care of.”

Lahnen also swore in the slate of officers for 2014-15, including herself as president, Cindy Schnelzer as vice president, Pat Spitale as secretary and John Geraci as treasurer. She announced that Vicki Bardo and Bob Ortendahl will continue on the board with new three-year terms.

Lahnen introduced board members and special guests in attendance, including: Jacqueline Chiarot, Jamestown representative for Congressman Tom Reed; Lisa Vanstrom, from Sen. Catharine Young’s office; Elizabeth Rankin, from Assemblyman Andrew Goodell’s office; Becky Blum, from the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging; Dick Clarke, board chairman for the Dunkirk/Fredonia Meals on Wheels; Margo Perrello, Dunkirk/Fredonia Meals on Wheels outreach worker; and Tory Irgang, executive director of the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County.

In previous years, the event has taken place at the Lucy Desi Center, the Roger Tori Peterson Institute and the Jamestown train station.

“Although we don’t have the opportunity meet every volunteer during the year, this is our way to bring them all together to say ‘thank you’ for everything they do and how much they are appreciated,” Lahnen said.

To conclude the event, Yochim and Lahnen announced the prize drawings for Meals on Wheels volunteers.

To learn more about Meals on Wheels or to see how you can help, visit www.mowjamestown.org.