December 16, 2009 > LIFE ElderCare 2009 Volunteer Luncheon
LIFE ElderCare 2009 Volunteer Luncheon
Submitted By Rachael Vander Martin
Photos By Courtesy of Elzer Ramos
A festive holiday atmosphere inspired over 200 volunteers to sing along with LIFE ElderCare staff and their honored guests at the 2009 Annual Volunteer Appreciation Lunch, held on December 8 in the Newark Hilton's Grand Ballroom. This year's theme, 'Hearts That Care', acknowledged the enormous contribution made by over 500 volunteers through the organization's four direct service programs, Meals on Wheels, Friendly Visitors, VIP Rides and Falls Prevention during the past year.
During the 2008-2009 fiscal year Meals on Wheels delivered 93,000 meals, Friendly Visitors provided 13,000 hours of companionship, VIP Rides enabled 1500 round trip rides for urgent medical appointments and Falls Prevention enrolled over 300 seniors in a personalized in-home exercise program.
The three-hour event, sponsored by Janice Futch-Claridge, gave the local mayors a chance to express their appreciation. City of Newark Mayor, David Smith equated the 40,000 hours of volunteer time given last year to the work of 20 full-time people every day of the week. "You make people feel loved and respected and take pride in doing it," he said.
City of Fremont Mayor, Bob Wasserman attended with his wife Linda, a long time Meals on Wheels driver, and their new baby granddaughter, Willow. "Our seniors appreciate the services but what they value even more is the personal, heartfelt connection - and that's something only caring volunteers can deliver," he said. Vice Mayor of Union City, Carol Dutra-Vernaci, added, "Volunteerism is so important in these difficult times, thank you so much for sharing your time with our city's at-risk older adults."
Judy Zlatnik, Board President, pointed out that most of LIFE ElderCare's volunteers are seniors themselves who enjoy giving back to the community during their retirement years. She also announced a new event for the organization coming up on March 27, 2010. "Our March for Meals event at Quarry Lakes will give everyone in the Tri-City area a chance to contribute to our goal of healthy aging and independent living for frail, at-risk seniors," she said.
Other guests included, Aileen Cox from Cargill Salt Corporation, Sylvia Jimenez from Kaiser Permanente and Fremont City Council Members, Suzanne Lee Chan and Anu Natarajan. A certificate of appreciation was given to Stanford's Graduate School of Business' Alumni Consulting Team for their work on an insightful analysis of the Falls Prevention program and was accepted by Michele Popiel. For information on how you can volunteer at LIFE ElderCare, visit http://lifeeldercare.org.