Iola area volunteers had a day off last Wednesday.
About 40 volunteers enjoyed a sit-down meal on April 24 at the Iola Nutrition Site.
Volunteers help keep nutrition sites running, according to Waupaca County Volunteer Coordinator Kristine Wiegman.
There are over 60 volunteers at the Iola Nutrition Site, which serves the Iola-Scandinavia area. There are 54 Meals-On-Wheels delivery drivers and another 13 volunteers who help prepare and serve the food onsite.
“When I moved from Milwaukee five years ago, I was amazed at all the wonderful volunteers here in Iola,” said Ruth Anderson, a senior citizen who benefits from the services offered at the Iola Nutrition Site.
“I love it here and the nutrition site is the icing on the cake,” Anderson said.
“When we moved to Iola, we wanted to be part of the community and help where there was need,” said Betty Kuhr. “Delivering meals, we have made many friends with the homebound, the people who know the history.”
“We believe we are on this earth to care and we try to do that as we are able,” Kuhr added.
“I have met some really nice people while delivering meals,” said Carole Marchetti. “I get so many thank you’s and words of appreciation and smiles. Good nutrition and a kind word are really appreciated by the homebound.”
“I enjoy just seeing the people and talking to them,” said Steve Olson, who delivers Meals-On-Wheels. “It’s something I like to do.”
“Seeing the people is what I love,” said Tammy Pethke, who also delivers meals.
There are 700 Department of Health & Human Services volunteers in Waupaca County, Wiegman noted. These volunteers contributed 40,053 hours, drove 86,914 miles for an approximate in-kind contribution value of a half million dollars in 2012.
At the Iola Nutrition Site, the 54 Meals-On-Wheels volunteers drove 12,208 miles, volunteered 832 hours and delivered 6,870 meals in 2012. The 13 congregate volunteers volunteered 567 hours and served 3,670 meals.
There were a total of 10,540 meals served from the Iola Nutrition Site in 2012.
“Volunteering is rewarding, but at times can be hard work,” said Sandy Bostwick, who helped coordinate the event.
Bostwick has been a volunteer at the Iola Nutrition Site since 2004.
The Iola Nutrition Site celebrated its 35th anniversary in January. Previously located at Iola Living Assistance, the nutrition site was moved to Living Oaks when the assisted living facility was opened in 2007.
“Years ago, had we known the nutrition site would be this successful, we would have made the community room (at Living Oaks) larger,” said Greg Loeser, administrator of Iola Living Assistance, Inc.
Each nutrition site in the county recognized its volunteers during Volunteer Week.
Waupaca County will hold its annual volunteer picnic on Friday, Sept. 13, at the Iola Old Car Show Grounds.