Joining Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island in 2010, Heather Amaral is the third executive director to lead the agency’s work in eliminating hunger and isolation for vulnerable seniors and other homebound residents across Rhode Island in its 49-year history.
Hailing from North Carolina, Heather has spent her career in the nonprofit world and chose her husband’s native Rhode Island as her home in 2009.
She serves on the board of directors of Opportunities Unlimited, which provides support services to individuals with differing abilities, and is a graduate of the 2017 Nu II class of Leadership Rhode Island.
Providence Business News awarded her a Business Women’s Award as a “woman to watch” in social services in 2014, after she was nominated for her creative and innovative approach to nonprofit leadership.
Years at Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island: 8
What interested you in working for the agency?
Amaral: Prior to relocating to Rhode Island, I was the director of Mid-Cumberland Human Resource Agency’s Meals On Wheels, serving a 13-county region in Middle Tennessee, including Nashville. I jumped at the chance to carry on the good work at Meals on Wheels of RI.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Amaral: Knowing the difference we make in our clients’ lives. Whether it’s better health as a result of the nutritious home-delivered meals or improved quality of life thanks to the socialization of a café dining site or volunteer visit, I know our efforts make a strong impact on those who receive our services.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Amaral: I’m an avid knitter and regularly crochet, occasionally teaching how-to classes for both. I also compete in a weekly curling league—the Ocean State Curling Club, which seeks to promote and expand the Olympic sport in Rhode Island—during fall and winter, and volunteer in their fundraising and awareness efforts. I love to read, especially mystery novels, and volunteer with the RI Military Organization’s Military Lounge at T.F. Green Airport.