United Way of Central Indiana awards $8.3 million to 63 organizations for basic needs

 UWCI Marketing / INDIANAPOLIS

United Way of Central Indiana announced it is awarding $8.3 million to 63 organizations to help them meet the basic needs of people and families across the region.

United Way’s Basic Needs Fund is designed to help our most vulnerable neighbors access food, housing, health care and transportation.

An 18-member committee of United Way board members, staff and community volunteers reviewed applications and selected the recipients, awarding grants ranging from $40,000 to $320,000.

“To achieve stability, people must first have their basic needs met,” said Mary Jones, United Way’s senior director of basic needs. “These funds support services that help people with life’s essentials.”

Organizations that received funding during this grant cycle serve people in Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Marion, Morgan and Putnam counties.

One of the organizations awarded funding is Stability First, a transitional housing nonprofit in Morgan County. Executive Director Rick Miller said the funding will enhance the nonprofit’s ability to help those struggling to gain stability in their lives.

“With individual growth plans focusing on a wholistic approach, we strive to provide the help and hope that so many are desperately needing,” Miller said. “We are extremely grateful to partner with the United Way of Central Indiana to positively impact our community.”

2022-2023 Basic Needs Fund grantees:

Alternatives Inc – $100,000

American Cancer Society – $40,000

The Arc of Greater Boone County, Inc. – $50,000

Boone County Senior Services, Inc. – $60,000

Bosma Enterprises – $60,000

Boys & Girls Club of Boone County – $80,000

Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville – $60,000

Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis – $100,000

Burmese American Community Institute – $100,000

Catholic Charities Indianapolis, Inc. – $320,000

Christamore House, Inc. – $60,000

CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions – $225,000

Community Alliance of the Far Eastside – $200,000

Concord Neighborhood Center – $125,000

Damien Center – $225,000

Easterseals Crossroads – $225,000

Edna Martin Christian Center – $225,000

Family Promise of Hendricks County – $100,000

Fathers and Families Center – $100,000

Fay Biccard Glick Neighborhood Center – $125,000

Firefly Children & Family Alliance – $320,000

Flanner House of Indianapolis, Inc. – $225,000

Foster Success – $60,000

Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana – $225,000

Hancock County Senior Services – $60,000

Hawthorne Community Center – $175,000

Hendricks County Senior Services – $150,000

Horizon House, Inc. – $200,000

HVAF of Indiana, Inc. – $80,000

Indiana Legal Services, Inc. – $80,000

Indiana Youth Group – $125,000

Indianapolis Legal Aid Society – $125,000

Indianapolis Urban League – $200,000

John Boner Neighborhood Centers – $225,000

The Julian Center – $100,000

La Plaza, Inc. – $150,000

Little Red Door Cancer Agency – $150,000

Lutheran Child and Family Services – $150,000

Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative – $50,000

Martin Luther King Community Center – $175,000

Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center – $200,000

Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana – $175,000

Meals on Wheels of Hancock County – $50,000

Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic – $40,000

New Hope of Indiana – $80,000

Noble, Inc. – $225,000

PrimeLife Enrichment – $50,000

Public Advocates in Community Re-Entry (PACE) – $100,000

Reach For Youth – $60,000

The Salvation Army Indiana – $320,000

Second Helpings – $225,000

Sheltering Wings – $150,000

Shepherd’s Center of Hamilton County – $100,000

Southeast Community Services – $125,000

St. Mary’s Early Childhood Center – $50,000

Stability First – $40,000

Sycamore Rehabilitation Services – $80,000

Tangram, Inc. – $150,000

TeenWorks, Inc. – $50,000

The Villages of Indiana, Inc. – $50,000

Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana – $225,000

WellSpring – $50,000

YMCA of Greater Indianapolis – $100,000

Curbside Story: Delivering Lifelines

Lifesaving. That’s how one Meals on Wheels of Hancock County client describes the impact our medically tailored deliveries have made on her since enrolling in the program this year.

“Arthritis has plagued my family for years, and now, in my 60s, I’m to the point where I can no longer drive or work,” she said. “And I cannot cook for myself.”

This client came to the Indy area 10 years ago to help care for her elderly parents. She also had a brother and sister who were ill. Over the years, she has worked as a certified nursing assistant, home health aide and companion caregiver. Her experience working with seniors in their homes informed her about the benefits of Meals on Wheels programs.

“I used to work with clients in their homes, and saw first-hand how much the meals helped,” she said. “The volunteers are so kind and wonderful, and I appreciate the calls, and we text when I might not be able to get to the phone right away.”

Chronic arthritis pain and a cancer diagnosis has made daily life a challenge. Arthritis makes it especially difficult to stand for any period of time. Her mobility is challenged on the daily, and fear of falling is a constant concern. 

“I have arthritis in both of my ankles, both of my ankles, in both of my knees and hips. From my waist down, I don’t work very well,” she said. “I’m so afraid of falling because my knees lock up on me. I worry if I fall in the kitchen, I can’t pull myself up. I have a big fear of falling.”

Cooking even a small meal has been difficult. She often has cereal on hand since she said pouring a bowl is sometimes the easiest. Just to stand at the stove or kitchen sink can be hard. With this in mind, and knowing how much Meals on Wheels helped her former home healthcare clients, she gave Meals on Wheels of Hancock County a call.    

“I just can’t stand at the stove to make something great. Every once and awhile I can,” she said.

Meals on Wheels weekday deliveries also help since she’s on a limited budget.

“I don’t make a lot of money in my retirement,” she said. “Meals on Wheels has been a lifesaver for me. I can get two meals a day. I’m very grateful for Meals on Wheels. For a long time I was afraid I would starve to death. I now no longer have a fear of starving. It’s just been a lifeline for me.”    

Ani-meals Blog: Pets, Parasites and People

Courtesy Thomas Dock, Noah’s Brandywine Animal Hospital

Intestinal Parasite Awareness

“Be sure to bring a fecal sample when Fluffy comes in for her visit!”

How many times have you heard a veterinary receptionist, technician or even the veterinarian say that? Do you wonder why we have such a strong passion for seeing poop from your pet?

The answer to that question may not be the most appealing thing to you, but it does have a direct impact on the health of your pet AND of your whole family! Almost every puppy or kitten born into this world will come fully equipped with either roundworms or hookworms (or both) already living inside of them. These intestinal parasites are passed to the young animals from the mom through the placenta or through nursing and can be deadly to the young animal.

Adult animals will also carry these parasites, although there is much less danger to them. They tend to shed eggs from the parasites during times of stress.  At the website, PetsAndParasites.com, you can track how prevalent these parasites are in your state and county.

But the bigger danger is actually to the two-legged members of your family. Both hookworms and roundworms are zoonotic, meaning they can be passed to humans from animals. We are not the normal hosts for these parasites, so their migration through our body can cause some serious issues, especially in children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 15% of the population of the United States has been infected with roundworms. In rare cases, children develop blurry vision, eye pain or have even had an eye removed due to the presence of roundworm larva. Hookworm larva actually burrow into our skin and travel through the body in the connective tissue. This condition is known as cutaneous larva migrans and is reported to be extremely uncomfortable due to the itchiness.

What About Heart Disease?

Another parasite that causes significant issues for our dogs and cats are heartworms. Unlike intestinal parasites, these foot-long worms live in the hearts and lungs of our pets. Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes, and it just takes one to infect your furry friend. Sadly, many pets die each year from this preventable disease.

So, what’s the best thing to keep you and your WHOLE family safe? Just follow a few simple rules:

First, listen to what your mother said and WASH YOUR HANDS! This is a great way to keep any of the parasite’s microscopic eggs from finding their way to your mouth when you eat. Parents should take extra care to make sure children clean their hands, especially after playing with pets or running in the yard where animals might defecate.

Second, pick up your pet’s poop and dispose of it. The sooner you can get it out of the yard, the less chance the parasite eggs will have to hatch and release infective larva.

The Vet Recommends …

Third, keep your pet current on monthly heartworm prevention, every month, all year long, even in the cold winter months. These medications will help to control roundworm and hookworm infestations and limit the number of eggs shed into your yard and will stop the heartworm larva from growing up to be adult heartworms!

Finally, don’t be shy when it comes to checking your pets for parasites. We should check stool samples at least every 6 months, and although twice a year may seem excessive to you, both roundworms and hookworms have a life cycle that can be completed in less than a month. An annual blood test to screen for heartworms should also be done. These testing protocols help veterinarians find the nasty parasites before for your pets or family develop serious health problems.

Call Noah’s Brandywine at (317) 462-7818 to make a free appointment for your pet by July 1, 2022!

IT’S THE SEASON FOR PREVENTION!

This season, take as good care of your pets as you do yourself with healthy check-ups and preventative care. Thanks to a Meals on Wheels America grant, we’re able to provide pet food, adoption, vet services, grooming and boarding for Meals on Wheels clients. And great news, we’re partnering with Noah’s Brandywine Animal Hospital to help you go the extra mile for your pet through our new Ani-meals program!

Sign up your pet for an appointment for the FREE
MOW pet preventative package that may include:

Annual physical exam and vaccinations

Recommended bloodwork
(including heartworm test and health screening panel)

Stool test to screen for intestinal parasites

1-year supply of parasite prevention

(including flea/tick, heartworm, intestinal parasite control)

Contact Noah’s Brandywine Animal Hospital at (317) 462-7818 to set up a FREE pet appointment.

Book today! Offer expires July 1, 2022.*


Call Meals on Wheels at (317) 477-FOOD for meal and pet food delivery questions.

*Must be a client enrolled in the Meals on Wheels of Hancock County program for complimentary pet care.

March for Meals: 50 Years of Community Champions

This month, we’ve teamed up with Meals on Wheels America to celebrate a special March for Meals highlighting the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program! In recognition of Community Champions Week (March 21-25), we hosted a rainy March for Meals meet-and-greet.

Community Champions such as Greenfield Police Department, Thomas P. Turner Foundation, Mayor Chuck Fewell’s office and Greenfield Indiana Kiwanis volunteers helped us raise awareness and rally support to help provide Hancock County neighbors with an essential service needed to remain healthy and independent at home. Mayor Fewell proclaimed March as the month to celebrate a special March for Meals highlighting the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program on March 22, 2022.

The annual March for Meals celebration commemorates the historic day in March 1972 when a measure amending the Older Americans Act of 1965 (to include a national nutrition program for seniors 60 years and older) was signed into law. This year, Meals on Wheels programs nationwide join forces for the awareness campaign to celebrate 50 years of success.

During this time, local Meals on Wheels programs invite local, state and federal officials, local celebrities and other prominent community figures to safely deliver meals, speak out for seniors and raise awareness for the power of their work. We thank our local Meals on Wheels volunteers and Community Champions!

Meals on Wheels Wins Community Award

2021 BOBBY KEEN HEALTHY COMMUNITY AWARD RECIPIENT

Meals on Wheels of Hancock County marked the close to 2021 with cause for celebration.

The nonprofit was honored as the most recent recipient of the Bobby Keen Healthy Community Award, named for the former Hancock Regional Hospital president and CEO. The award recognizes a hospital program or local organization that has made a significant and positive impact on the health and wellness of the Hancock County community.

Meals on Wheels was recognized for safely delivering meals that meet patients’ dietary needs every weekday, including weekend meals on Fridays, throughout Hancock County. Especially during the pandemic.

“As the pandemic has increased social isolation and food insecurity among seniors, Meals on Wheels has created an innovative approach to meet this need by delivering shelf-stable emergency food boxes. The organization also participates in the local Post-Discharge Nutrition Initiative (PDNI) that ensures malnourished patients receive nutrition after they leave the hospital,” Hancock Health said in a press release.

As part of the Bobby Keen Award designation, the Meals on Wheels program received a $1,000 donation to provide meals to neighbors in need and deliveries of Care Boxes filled with shelf-stable pantry items. The award money can help sponsor the cost of meals for those who qualify for subsidies, and provide access to food in cases of adverse weather or emergencies.

Meals on Wheels Executive Director Lynda Kosh said she was overwhelmed by the Hancock Health Foundation’s gratitude and showing of appreciation.

“It’s a privilege to do what what we do in taking care of our friends, family and neighbors here in the community,” she says. “I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. Our excellent staff does a great job in serving your friends and family here in this community, and we are all thankful for this award.”

Bobby Keen Healthy Community Award winners include:

  • 2013: Hospice
  • 2014: K.B. Memorial Soup Kitchen
  • 2015: Hancock County Children’s Choir
  • 2016: Greenfield Parks Department
  • 2017: The Landing Place
  • 2018: Hancock Regional Hospital Guild
  • 2019: Rock Steady Boxing
  • 2020: Brianna’s Hope of Greenfield
  • 2021: Meals on Wheels of Hancock County

Share the Love This Holiday Season

Camden, N.J., November 18, 2021 /CSRwire – Subaru of America, Inc. has announced the return of the annual Subaru Share the Love® Event in 2021 for its 14th consecutive year. With the return of national charity partners including Meals on Wheels America, Subaru and its participating retailers hope to exceed a grand total of $225 million donated to these worthy causes by the end of the event’s 14th year.

“The Subaru Share the Love Event is the most important time of the year for us, as it gives our Subaru family of employees, retailers and owners a moment to come together to reflect on what matters most – helping those in need,” said Thomas J. Doll, President and CEO of Subaru of America, Inc. “Giving back is at the very heart of Subaru – it’s what makes us More Than a Car Company. In 2021, we’re excited to give back to the causes close to our community’s hearts and make a lasting positive impact.”

From Nov. 18, 2021, through Jan. 3, 2022, with every new Subaru purchased or leased at one of more than 600 participating Subaru retailers nationwide, Subaru will donate $250 to the customer’s choice of charities*. The customer may choose to direct the donation to four national partner charities: The ASPCA®, Make-A-Wish®, Meals on Wheels America and the National Park Foundation. Subaru retailers also will have the opportunity to add up to two local hometown charities for their customers to select.

For the sixth consecutive year, there will be no cap placed on the total donation from Subaru of America, Inc. to the Share the Love Event charitable partners, and new owners will be granted the option of selecting which charity or charities will receive a donation from Subaru on their behalf. In addition to the four national charity partners, Subaru retailers nationwide have selected 794 charitable organizations in their communities to support.

Additionally, more than 300 participating Subaru retailers will donate an additional $5 to their hometown charitable partners for every routine Subaru vehicle service visit from November 18, 2021 through January 3, 2022, throughout the Subaru Share the Love Event.

The Subaru Share the Love Event was launched in 2008, and since that year, Subaru has donated more than $200 million to more than 1,610 national and local charities.

Meals on Wheels America

Subaru is the largest automotive donor to Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels America provides leadership to local, community-based programs dedicated to fighting hunger and isolation among our nation’s homebound seniors. Through the Subaru Share the Love Event, Meals on Wheels has helped deliver more than 2.5 million meals and friendly visits to America’s seniors.

About Subaru of America, Inc.

Subaru of America, Inc. (SOA) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Subaru Corporation of Japan. Headquartered at a zero-landfill office in Camden, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of more than 630 retailers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. is the only U.S. automobile manufacturing plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. SOA is guided by the Subaru Love Promise, which is the company’s vision to show love and respect to everyone, and to support its communities and customers nationwide. Over the past 20 years, SOA has donated more than $200 million to causes the Subaru family cares about, and its employees have logged more than 63,000 volunteer hours. As a company, Subaru believes it is important to do its part in making a positive impact in the world because it is the right thing to do. For additional information visit media.subaru.com. Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Keeping Seniors and Pets Together 

PETSMART CHARITIES® AND MEALS ON WHEELS AMERICA DISTRIBUTE MORE THAN $600,000 IN GRANTS TO SUPPORT SENIORS AND THEIR PETS

ARLINGTON, Va. / Meals on Wheels America

Meals on Wheels America is proud to announce that the Meals on Wheels Loves Pets grant program, supported by PetSmart Charities, has distributed $601,538 in grants to support senior nutrition program pet services nationwide. Funding will be used to provide Meals on Wheels clients and their pets with food, supplies, grooming and improved access to veterinary care, all of which can often present financial and physical challenges for older adults to manage on their own.

This partnership with PetSmart Charities is part of Meals on Wheels America’s strategic effort to combat social isolation and loneliness among seniors across the country and has helped nearly 17,000 Meals on Wheels clients remain at home to age in place with their beloved pets. This year, Meals on Wheels America and PetSmart Charities awarded grants to 79 local Meals on Wheels programs through the Meals on Wheels Loves Pets initiative.

One in four seniors lives alone and, for many of them, their pet is their closest companion. In fact, recent research made possible by PetSmart Charities and released in June shows that nearly 100 percent of Meals on Wheels clients receiving pet services report that their pet brings happiness to their life. Seniors with pets are less likely to exhibit depression, report feelings of loneliness and experience illness. However, clients with pets often face financial or transportation barriers to securing adequate pet care, and many may forgo their own personal care in order to provide for their pets. 
“Having the company of a pet not only makes homebound seniors feel less lonely but also improves their physical and mental well-being, helping them to stay happier, healthier and more independent. Yet, nearly half of the clients receiving pet assistance from Meals on Wheels don’t have anyone else to help them with their pet needs,” said Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander. “That’s why we’re so appreciative of our growing partnership with PetSmart Charities – it makes it possible for us to continue to invest Meals on Wheels Loves Pets grants in local Meals on Wheels programs in 31 states to provide critical supplies, care and assistance.”
“As an organization dedicated to supporting pets and the people who love them, PetSmart Charities is proud to continue partnering with Meals on Wheels America to help provide essential services to seniors and their pets,” said PetSmart Charities President Aimee Gilbreath. “We know there is a large population of seniors experiencing financial challenges caused by the pandemic and facing the difficult choice of caring for themselves or their beloved pet. This partnership helps ensure they won’t have to make that choice.”
For more information on Meals on Wheels America’s efforts surrounding older adults and their pets, please visit https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/connection. For more information on PetSmart Charities, please visit www.petsmartcharities.org.

ABOUT MEALS ON WHEELS AMERICA
Meals on Wheels America is the leadership organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network serves virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million staff and volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time. For more information, or to find a Meals on Wheels provider near you, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org.

ABOUT PETSMART CHARITIES®
PetSmart Charities, Inc. is committed to finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities helps to find forever homes and families for more than 600,000 shelter pets each year. Each year, millions of generous PetSmart shoppers help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores.  In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, granting more than $450 million since its inception in 1994. Independent from PetSmart Inc., PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization that has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator, a third-party organization that reports on the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of nonprofits, for the past 17 years in a row – placing it among the top one percent of charities rated by this organization. To learn more visit www.petsmartcharities.org.

Follow PetSmart Charities on Instagram: @PetSmartCharities

Follow PetSmart Charities on Twitter: @PetSmartChariTs Find PetSmart Charities on

Facebook: Facebook.com/PetSmartCharities 

See PetSmart Charities on YouTube: YouTube.com/PetSmartCharitiesInc

Subaru of America Shares the Love

Through the Subaru Share the Love® Event, from Nov. 19, 2020, to Jan. 4, 2021, Subaru of America donated $250 for every new Subaru vehicle purchased or leased to the customer’s choice of the four national charities, including Meals on Wheels, with a minimum guarantee of $250,000. In addition to these partners, local Subaru retailers selected hundreds of hometown charities for their customers to support as well.

 Over the past 12 years, the Subaru Share the Love Event has helped deliver more than 2.3 million meals to America’s seniors.

Meals on Wheels America provides leadership to more than 5,000 local, community-based programs dedicated to fighting hunger and isolation among our nation’s homebound seniors. Each donation from Subaru supports the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable seniors to continue living nourished lives in their own homes. 

Over the past 12 years, the Subaru Share the Love Event has helped deliver more than 2.3 million meals to America’s seniors. Last year, Meals on Wheels of Hancock County was honored to participate in, and become a first-time recipient of funds from, the Subaru Share the Love Event locally.

Support Seniors Impacted by COVID-19

MEALS ON WHEELS AMERICA’S ‘DON’T STOP NOW’ CAMPAIGN ENCOURAGES AWARENESS AND ACTION IN SUPPORT OF VULNERABLE SENIORS

Arlington, VA / Meals On Wheels America

Before COVID-19 hit, 1 in 4 seniors lived alone while 1 in 6 seniors experienced hunger. This number has grown steadily since lockdown measures have come into place and increasingly more seniors must shelter in place to remain safe during the pandemic.

As a result, Meals on Wheels programs nationwide are delivering 77% more meals to 47% more seniors than they were just months ago. To remind businesses and individuals alike that we cannot stop caring for our most vulnerable during this time, Meals on Wheels America, the largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based senior nutrition programs across the country, has partnered with more than twenty-five national brands to help the homebound seniors served by Meals on Wheels through a new campaign – Don’t Stop Now.

The Don’t Stop Now campaign runs online through Nov. 30, 2020, raising awareness and encouraging individuals to take action in support of vulnerable seniors both nationally and in their local community. The campaign kicked off with a matching contribution from naviHealth for the Meals on Wheels COVID-19 Response Fund and is boosted by donated airtime from Comcast and Univision to run public service announcements.


In addition to those listed above, the effort has garnered participation from several national brands including Alpha Gamma Delta Fraternity, Anchor Brewing Co., Anova Culinary, Bob’s Red Mill, bonrisu™, The Coca-Cola Company, Consumer Cellular, Danone North America (and a number of Danone brands including Activia®, DanActive®, Dannon®, evian®, Horizon® Organic, Light + Fit®, Oikos®, Oikos® Triple Zero, So Delicious® Dairy Free, Two Good® and Wallaby® Organic), GSN Games, HITRECORD, The Home Depot Foundation, Macy’s and Synchrony. Companies participating are sharing campaign messaging across their communications channels, writing notes of encouragement to seniors served by Meals on Wheels, are making first-time and renewed philanthropic contributions, and encouraging their various stakeholders to do the same.

“We’re all feeling worn down by the troubling news surrounding COVID-19,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “But the reality is, we can’t let our foot off the gas pedal when millions of seniors are looking to us for a vital lifeline and will continue to rely on our nutritious meals and friendly check-ins for the foreseeable future. Now is not the time to lose momentum. That’s why we’re carrying the message to businesses and individuals alike: Don’t Stop Now.”

More information about the campaign, and the issues facing Meals on Wheels and the older adults they serve, can be found at www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/dontstopnow. The public is encouraged to join the conversation on social using #DontStopNow.

ABOUT MEALS ON WHEELS AMERICA
Meals on Wheels America is the leadership organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network serves virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million staff and volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits, and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, education, research, and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time.

Gold Spoke Volunteer: Carol Reynolds

“Thank you for being the GOOD in our community!”
That’s the message Carol Reynolds, resident Meals on Wheels of Hancock County cheer-maker, shares on her Facebook page in her mission to lift up friends and neighbors with sweet acts of kindness.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Carol and her friends at Brown’s Chapel Wesleyan Church in Greenfield have been busy writing notes and cards of encouragement for Hancock County residents in the Meals on Wheels program.

“The real stars here are all those people who are taking their time to write out the cards and color the pages to help brighten the day of people who might be lonely and feeling isolated,” she says.
Carol routinely volunteers for Meals on Wheels as a driver, and was motivated to start the notecard project as the COVID-19 pandemic further isolated those staying safe at home. Her strong faith and love of neighbors helped further her cause.

“The first day I did deliveries with the current no-contact model, although I totally understand and support the need for it, made me very, very sad. Although I know many clients have friends and family nearby and involved in their lives, all of the sudden even those folks had been cut off from that once a day contact with their drivers,” she says.

“The thing about this pandemic is that it is so BIG, it is easy to feel hopeless. I just kept thinking about how isolated these treasured members of our society were going to be and it finally occurred to me that God was trying to tell me that I needed to do something. He gave me the idea to start collecting cards of encouragement to distribute to clients.”

Carol says as a volunteer driver, she has always appreciated the opportunity to check in on people and make sure they are doing okay. And take a moment to chat if they’re interested.

“I especially have enjoyed the Christmas Eve day deliveries,” she says. “While I enjoy the interaction, it always makes me sad, as well, that some of the clients seem so very alone. We are designed by our Creator to live in fellowship with others, not alone and isolated.”

Carol says she wasn’t sure it was possible to quickly a notecard project, but was encouraged when MOW Executive Director Lynda Kosh said it could be done. She checked with Pastor Theo at Brown’s Chapel, and received permission and support to collect the cards there.
Next step was doing it safely, she says.

“My husband and I found a new step-on wastebasket and strapped it to my church porch so people could drop off cards without touching anything. I began collecting the cards from the bin once a week,” she says. “Then I take them home and lay them out on my table and spray them with Lysol. I let them sit for 3-4 days and then deliver them to MOW. They take it from there, managing the logistics of getting them distributed.”

Carol is heading toward a total of 200 notes sent since the project started. More recently, Carol and her notecard crew were able to provide “103 cards to Meals on Wheels of Hancock County today from the past two weeks,” she wrote in a May 19 Facebook post. “I will be collecting on Monday (May 25) evening this week. Would love to see some more artwork and coloring pages!”

A special moment for Carol since starting the notecard project happened the first time she collected cards from the bin.

“I didn’t know what I would find. An empty bin would have hurt my heart, I think! I was overwhelmed to find it full of hand-written cards and letters,” she says. “I had asked my church family to help with the writing and posted on social media asking for anyone interested to drop a card in the box. But I had people who had taken the time to write whole bags full of cards. I was just overjoyed, and so very grateful.”

Carol says to contribute, place completed notes in the bin on the porch at Brown’s Chapel Wesleyan Church, 994 N 600 E, Greenfield, IN 46140. She also encourages non-perishable donations for the food pantry operating through Brandywine Community Church.

Carols appreciates folks taking time to write notes of encouragement for those isolated at home.

“I am so thankful for each person who has taken the time and effort to encourage these precious individuals. Each of these MOW clients could be any of us someday,” she says. “How would we feel if we were suddenly under house arrest with very little contact with the outside world? Thank you to each person who gets that and has answered the call to do a small part to brighten someone’s day. You are the GOOD!”