Volunteers are Making a Difference at Wheeling Township
April is National Volunteer Month, and Wheeling Township would like to recognize the hundreds of volunteers who have helped to provide vital services to Township residents over the last year. During fiscal year 2018-2019, more than 10,000 volunteer service hours were logged, with approximately 6,450 hours for senior programs, and 3,920 in the Township's Food Pantry.
According to Independent Sector, a coalition of nonprofits, foundations and corporate giving programs, the value of a volunteer is determined by multiplying the number of hours donated by the 2018 dollar value per hour ($25.43). For Wheeling Township, this equates to $263,861. This data is incredibly significant in that the Township could not provide the level and breadth of services to its residents without these valuable volunteers and their time.
"We live in an amazingly generous community," said Township Supervisor Kathy Penner. "Their tireless dedication and concern for others makes a huge difference to so many residents, and thanks to their time and talent, we are able to positively impact the community even more."
Two of the Township's programs that utilized the largest number of volunteers in 2018-2019 were the Food Pantry and Meals on Wheels (MOW).
The Food Pantry crew consisted of 41 volunteers who assisted residents with shopping, bagging groceries, sorting donations and stocking shelves.
Director of General Assistance Julie Villarreal said, "Our Food Pantry couldn't run without our 'crew.' Very few tax dollars are utilized for its operation. We are very grateful for their dedication."
Wheeling Township's Food Pantry had 4,853 visits over the last year, which fed 9,953 people; 2,239 of which were children. Food Pantry volunteers commit to a three-hour shift every week during one of the 11 weekly shifts, which includes a morning and afternoon shift each day, and a midday swing shift on Wednesdays.
There were 11,875 meals delivered by volunteers through the MOW program to homebound seniors over 60 years of age (and disabled individuals over 18). Through this program, freshly-prepared hot meals are delivered five days a week, and even on holidays. The MOW program has 350+ year-round volunteers from the community, as well as 26 local churches that deliver during an assigned month.
"MOW volunteers don't just deliver a meal, they provide a smile and a brief conversation," said Lynndah Lahey, Director of Senior Services. "For some recipients, their meal delivery might be the only contact they have with someone all day -- it's a crucial service."
Some of the other Wheeling Township programs that utilized volunteers included the AARP Tax-Aide Program, SHIP (Medicare assistance), AARP Safe Driving Classes, Visually Impaired Book Club, Make A Difference Day Superhero Movie event, Rules of the Road Classes, the Advisory Council on Disabilities and the Senior Advisory Board/Senior Scenes programs.
Wheeling Township honored its outstanding volunteers at the Annual Town Hall meeting on April 9, 2019. This year's honorees included MOW volunteers Debbie Cline (Church Coordinator), and Jim and Bonnie Harbke (substitute drivers). Also recognized were AARP-Tax Aide Coordinators Chuck O'Malley and Bill Myers. Outstanding donors and friends of the Food Pantry who were recognized included Saint Paul Lutheran Church, Indian Trails Public Library District and Wheeling High School's Boys Basketball team members.
For more information about the Township's Food Pantry, contact Director of General Assistance Julie Villarreal at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Director of Senior/Disability Services Lynndah Lahey can be reached at email@example.com for more information about MOW. Both individuals can be reached by calling the Township directly at 847-259-7730.