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MARCH FOR MEALS: Volunteers are the “lifeblood” of Meals on Wheels

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) - When Clarence Boesenberg's wife had a stroke, the couple had meals delivered through Meals on Wheels.

Impressed with the program and delivery drivers, Boesenberg wanted to give back.

"After my wife passed away, I started delivering meals and I've done it ever since," Boesenberg said.

Clarence Boesenberg celebrated his 95th birthday on Feb. 27.

March for Meals is the celebration of the Older Americans Act of 1965 which established a national nutrition program for seniors.

This law funds most Meals on Wheels programs across the country. 

"Volunteers are our lifeblood, what we do here does not happen without our volunteers," Kami Zbanek Hill, Horizons Volunteer Coordinator said.

Around 85% of Meals on Wheels routes are driven by volunteers.

Meals on Wheels delivery provides meals and also check-ins for clients, something nine-year volunteer, Boesenberg enjoys.

“Some [clients] I have had for many years, and I really enjoy visiting with them and keeping up on them,” Boesenberg said.

"We're more than a meal, it's right in out tagline, we are more than just providing food to people, we are a social safety net."

Kami Zbanek Hill, Horizons Volunteer Coordinator

Boesenberg is an avid cyclist and plans to participate in RAGBRAI this year.

The pandemic didn't stop him from volunteering. He says he is careful and has both shots of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"He has every right to sit in his arm chair and watch TV but he's choosing not to, he's choosing to be out and involved in his community as long as he possibly can be," Zbanek Hill said.

Meals on Wheels encourages people to work a volunteer shirt during March for Meals. Click here for more information.

Kennedy DeRaedt

Photojournalist

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