Delivering meals comes full circle

Published 7:46 am Thursday, December 8, 2011

Meals on Wheels volunteer and route coordinator Stan Rasmussen greets the many volunteers Wednesday night at Meals on Wheels' annual banquet at the Hormel Historic Home. -- Matt Peterson/

120 Meals on Wheels volunteers recognized at Hormel Historic Home

Each Meals on Wheels volunteer delivers a few meals during the lunch hour, once a week, year in and year out.

Roughly 120 of those volunteers spent Wednesday night at the Hormel Historic Home, where a little of that hospitality was returned.

Each year, Meals on Wheels in Austin reserves funds for an annual banquet to recognize its volunteers. Even though reserve funds have been tougher to come by in the past years, the group was able to put together a 2011 banquet. Among a social hour and a Hy-Vee catered meal, guests were treated to a performance by the Austinaires.

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Local Meals on Wheels President Alice Holst said members hope to continue the banquet each year, as the volunteers spend their own gas money and time once a week for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. After a year, that adds up. But the volunteers all seem to agree: They love what they do.

“After I retired, this fit into a list of give-back-to-the-community projects,” said Rich Chuick, who has been delivering meals for about five years.

He added that the banquet is a good time to meet some new volunteers and reminisce with others about the people they’ve helped.

Meals on Wheels in Austin usually operates in the red, Holst said. Among a shared cell phone account, the price of meals, delivery bags, postage and other supplies, Meals on Wheels can generate more than $1,000 of overhead each year. However, a $5,000 donation from Hormel Foods Corp. has allowed the organization to continue to effectively serve the community.

Holst said Meals on Wheels is always looking for supplies and more volunteers. For more information, contact Meals on Wheels at 438-3140.