Monday, December 7, 2009


Troy Volunteer Brings Food & Friendship to Seniors

“He’s a ‘mega volunteer,’“ says Emerald Food Services Vice PresidentOperation Steve Haveraneck, in describing Jim Forrer and the work he does inthe community and for Meals on Wheels.You can find volunteer Forrer, a Troy resident and president of Media Marketing in Troy, preparing meals in Emerald Food Services' kitchen at theTroy Community Center every Thursday and then delivering the meals to local homebound older adults. Forrer, who has been in sales and marketing for 40 years, also stocks up on Lean Cuisine and KCF meals and spends his weekend personally delivering themto 10 or 15 local seniors who he knows would spend the weekend in hunger without his visit.“The experience of delivering home delivered meals to older adults over the past seven years has opened my eyes to how many seniors are truly suffering in our community, which is one of the richest counties in southeastern Michigan,”Forrer observes. “I visit seniors and people with disabilities every week who are sitting in dark rooms alone with little or nothing to eat and they are so grateful. If we all just do a little, we can truly make a difference.”One of Haveraneck’s and Forrer’s current goals is to get every politician in Lansing to make a Meals on Wheels run before they cut more money from the program. Cuts are slated for 15 percent this year and 25 percent next year.Haveraneck notes those cuts will that new people will not be added and some on the program may be cut.For the past two years Forrer has secured donations from companies and restaurants to provide a festiveThanksgiving celebration for residents at Clawson Manor, an independent living,affordable housing complex for people age 62 and older. This year, past sponsors were unable to contribute due to the economy and having to lay off their own employees. Instead the Knights of Columbus provided residents with a Thanksgiving meal and Forrer secured donations from family, friends and other local businesses and personally delivered food to local seniors who he knows are in need.Jim is also a member of the AAA 1-BAdvisory Council and a volunteer for CASA, the Salvation Army, and the RedCross.The Holiday Meals on Wheels(HMOW) program provides a warm,nutritious meal on the holidays to the most vulnerable individuals - homebound seniors who are no longer able to drive to the grocery store, have limited mobility, and are unable to cook their own meal. More than 37 percent of the program’s recipients are over age 84,and over 53 percent live alone.“These people are poor and lonely and it’s common that the only human contact they have in a day is with theMeals on Wheels volunteer,” Forrer points out knowingly.That visit often represents more than just food, but is a gift of friendship and compassion. “We have to care for our seniors,” Forrer stresses.Traditional government funding does not cover the cost of providing a home-delivered meal on holidays. TheArea Agency on Aging 1-B raises funds to provide Holiday Meals on Wheels onThanksgiving Day, Hanukkah, Christmas,New Year’s Day, Easter and Passover.The average cost of a holiday meal is$6.00. There are over a thousand seniors getting meals just through the programs Emerald Kitchens runs in 16 local communities!!!“The AAA 1-B relies on financial support from the public to fund these holiday deliveries and ensure that seniors do not spend these holidays hungry or alone,” said Abbate Marzolf, theAgency’s chief executive officer. “The volunteers spend time visiting with each of these seniors, sharing the spirit of the holiday season and delivering warmth,friendship and compassion.”If Gazette readers are interested in supporting Holiday Meals on Wheels by making a donation they can visit theArea Agency on Aging 1-B's website, or call at (800) 852-7795. They can also call Emerald FoodService at 248-689-0001 to support meal delivery Monday through Friday.If Gazette readers are interested in volunteering, they can call Emerald FoodService at 248-689-0001. They need volunteers who will be there consistently,as our seniors are counting on them.

Let's all give Jim a big Thank You, and if you can spare some time or money, let's help our seniors.  The government, both federal and local keep taking from them.  Just think that could be you some day.

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