- Written by Lisa Middents, Development Manager
- Published: 25 January 2018
The Meals on Wheels A-Team
When we think of superheroes, neatly labeled rows of Shelf Stable Meals, sparkly snow globes, and adorable snowmen decorations are not the first things that come to mind. These are some of the things you’ll find in Ann Kaczenski’s and Darlene Nutter’s workspace in LifePath’s Nutrition Department. Yet “superhero” fits to sum up all the passion, energy, and skill that Ann and Darlene bring to their jobs.
Ann, the congregate and home-delivered meals coordinator says, “So much of what Darlene and I do is real teamwork. I couldn’t do this job without her. We always know what the other is doing and we fill in what needs to be done. She is my right arm, and I am her left.”
Not many could fit into a 30-hour week all the responsibilities Ann has for making sure Meals on Wheels runs smoothly. If an elder doesn’t answer their door when the drivers deliver, it’s her job to track them down to be sure they are safe. Ann says, “I call emergency contacts, doctor offices and hospitals to make sure folks are okay.” This wellness check is what gives elders and their families peace of mind. Ann also helps to maintain the ever-changing information added to the computer, recruits and orients volunteer drivers, and helps order food for an average of 550 elders each weekday who receive Meals on Wheels.
Before Ann joined the staff, she volunteered to keep Meals on Wheels rolling. She formed the Walkathon team “Elm Street Ambulators” in 2013, and they raised a whopping $900 last year. Ann has big plans to top that this year.
Meals on Wheels captured Ann’s heart after her mother passed away several years ago. Her mom fell down in her home and was found by her Meals on Wheels drivers. Ann explains, “I lived about an hour and a half away so I wasn’t able to be there every day. I was very, very appreciative of her getting a hot meal.”