This past Friday Meals on Wheels of Rockland County held a tropical themed party to thank its most dedicated volunteers. While Meals on Wheels of Rockland County has about 85 employees, 50 full-time and about 35 part-time, it’s the volunteers that really let the organization to do all the important work that it does. The meal delivery program, the senior centers, adult daycare and adult education center—some 600 volunteers are critical to all of the organization’s activities. The party was an extra special thank you to those who volunteer 50 hours or more annually.
Many of the volunteers who give their time to Meals on Wheels tend to shy away from any kind of official recognition, so Friday’s party—with its relaxed, informal atmosphere—served as the perfect venue in which to give them all a heartfelt thank you.
“The majority of our volunteers don’t want to be fussed over,” said Meals on Wheels President and CEO Barbara Kohlhausen. “So Carissa (Coslit) came up with the idea of having a house party.”
The driving force between the event was Carissa Coslit, the volunteer coordinator for Meals on Wheels of Rockland County. As someone who works directly with the volunteers, she is very well aware of their importance.
“The agency couldn’t provide the programs and services that it does without its volunteers,” said Coslit.
The party was catered by Pearl River’s Kwan Thai and Caribbean-inspired music provided by the band No Discipline wafted through the air as a piece of Valley Cottage was transformed into an island paradise affording the guests gathered there an opportunity to mingle and socialize. While Friday’s turbulent rainstorms certainly threatened to put a damper on the evening, thankfully, by the time guests started to arrive, the wild weather had passed and the sun had come out.
The party was certainly appreciated by those in attendance.
“This is a wonderful organization headed by a wonderful staff,” said volunteer Carmel Ann Favale. “They really appreciated their volunteers.”
The dedication of the volunteers was a point that all of Meals on Wheels staff members expounded upon at every opportunity.
“This is the day to thank all the volunteers who keep the agency running,” said Marianne Colucci, RD, Director of Food Service and Nutrition.
For many of the volunteers, their activities with Meals on Wheels have become a part of their weekly or even daily routines and they couldn’t imagine their lives without them.
“My delivery day is Monday,” said Laura D’Gabriel, who volunteers with her husband Sandy. “It’s a great way to start my week.”
In addition to knowing that they are making a huge difference in the life of a homebound individual, a lot of volunteers cherish the special bonds that they end up forming with many of the people and seniors on their route.
“I drive. I deliver the meals. It is absolutely fantastic,” said John, who has volunteered with Meals on Wheels for 16 years. “You meet people who are in the later years of their life and you don’t realize how important you are to them.”
So thank you once again to all the people who give up their time for Meals on Wheels. Their selflessness and dedication ensures that some of Rockland’s most needy and deserving residents are able to receive not only the nutrition they need, but also an equally important link to the rest of the community.