2018 March for Meals Senior Hunger Awareness Campaign
Uniting elected officials, business leaders and community champions to advocate for the vulnerable seniors who rely on Meals on Wheels of RI services to remain healthy and independent in their own homes.
Elected Officials Support March for Meals
During our month-long campaign, elected officials have generously provided public support for Meals on Wheels of RI critical services by hand-delivering meals to homebound seniors across the state.
Rep. David Cicilline delighted Alice Valerio by delivering her daily meal on March 28. Valerio, who has lived in Smithfield for over 14 years, spent her career helping individuals with disabilities develop life skills in order to become independent adults. She worked at the John E. Fogarty Center in Johnston. The center donates space and staff and volunteer time as a drop-off site for Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island delivery drivers to pick up daily meals.
On March 23, Rep. Jim Langevin visited the home of Warwick resident
Geraldine Ramagalia, a 75-year-old homebound lifelong Rhode Islander who began receiving daily delivered meals last summer after breaking her hip. Ramagalia previously worked for the Providence school system, serving lunch to students. She describes receiving Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island as “coming full circle.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Kim Keck, president and CEO of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, the campaign’s premier sponsor, delivered meals to homebound East Providence couple Bruce and Elaine Lethbridge on March 16. The Lethbridges, both 81, spent time visiting with Whitehouse and Keck, trading stories about Rhode Island living.
Mr. Lethbridge, a Korean War veteran, and Elaine, who devoted her life to raising the couple’s three children and caring for her family, celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary last June. Bruce retired from his job as a manufacturing supervisor at age 63 to care for Elaine when she suddenly became ill. They are lifelong East Providence residents and live in Bruce’s childhood home, which they purchased over 55 years ago.
On March 20, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello delivered meals to and visited with Clarence and Katherine Millette, both 90, a homebound Cranston couple who rely on Meals on Wheels of RI’s Home-Delivered Meal Program to keep them healthy and safe because they no longer can safely shop for and prepare meals on their own.
Clarence, a WWII veteran who served with the Seabees at Quonset Point and retired from the East Greenwich Police Department in 1994, and Katherine, a retired teacher assistant, will be married 70 years on Aug. 14.
Cranston Mayor Allan Fung joined Meals on Wheels of RI Executive Director Heather Amaral on March 21 to deliver a meal to Marlene Donnelly, a 75-year-old homebound Cranston resident.
Donnelly, who has lived in her home for over 50 years, suffers from arthritis that prevents her from driving or shopping for food. Mrs. Donnelly, who became her husband’s caretaker before he passed away in the late 1990s, lives alone and our Home-Delivered Meal Program ensures she always has a nutrious lunchtime meal and a daily volunteer visit that gives her daughters and granddaughters peace of mind, knowing that someone is always checking on her.
On March 12, Sen. Jack Reed joined Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island’s March for Meals campaign by delivering meals to homebound Cranston seniors Eltore “Eddy” and Pauline Santurri. The Santurris became Meals on Wheels of RI clients on March 1, after Pauline, 85, suffered a fractured hip during a fall, making it difficult for her to continue to prepare meals. Eddy, 84, and Pauline report that Meals on Wheels of RI has been a Godsend to both of them.
Eddy, 84, a veteran who served with the Seabees constructing naval bases in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Casablanca, Morocco during the Korean War, and Pauline, a dedicated homemaker, will celebrate 63 years of marriage in April.
Gov. Gina Raimondo Launches 2018 March for Meals Campaign
Proclaiming March as “March For Meals Month,” Gov. Gina Raimondo on March 5 kicked off Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island’s month-long campaign by delivering a meal to one of the thousands of Rhode Island seniors who rely on the agency’s services to remain healthy and safe living in their own homes.
“It’s so important to support services that keep our seniors living at home where they want to be,” said Gov. Raimondo. “Meals on Wheels provides a vital lifeline and connection to the community for Rhode Island’s older adults. During my first year in office, I was proud to lead an effort to restore $300,000 in state funding to Meals on Wheels. I’m honored to be joining the kickoff for March for Meals today.”
Gov. Raimondo delivered a meal to and visited with Georgiana Perry, an 89-year-old lifelong Fox Point resident who said she would not be able to remain living in her longtime home without her daily home-delivered meals.
The governor was accompanied by Webster Bank Regional President Doug Scala. Webster Bank has been the campaign’s presenting sponsor for six years.
“For 82 years, Webster Bank has strived to and is proud to support organizations providing safety net services that make life better for citizens in need. Meals on Wheels has a critical mission unmatched in the state of Rhode Island and makes a difference in the lives of so many,” Scala said.
Thank You to Our Generous 2018 March for Meals Sponsors
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