March for Meals

March for Meals: Elected Officials Bring Meals and Hope to Homebound Seniors 

 

This month, elected officials joined us in raising awareness about the food insecurity and isolation that affect a growing number of older adults in Marin by delivering meals. We want to express our deepest gratitude to: 

  • Mayor Peter Mark of Belvedere 
  • Councilmember Maribeth Bushey of San Rafael 
  • Mayor Barbara Coler of Fairfax 
  • Mayor Eli Beckman of Corte Madera 
  • Supervisor Eric Lucan of Novato, District 5
  • Supervisor Mary Sackett of San Rafael, District 1
  • Councilmember Rachael Kertz of San Rafael 
  • Supervisor Dennis Rodoni, District 4
  • Mayor Mark Milberg of Novato 

 

Their presence brightened the day of our homebound neighbors, who often go without seeing another human throughout their day. For many, a visit from an elected official was incredibly meaningful, and the impact was just as profound for the officials themselves.  

 

 

San Rafael Supervisor Mary Sackett, an attorney with 15 years of experience before entering public service, has always been passionate about community engagement. This drive to be involved in her community led her to the role of supervisor. Building on past experiences of helping with meal deliveries, she joined Vivalon’s March for Meals.

 

Reflecting on the deliveries, Supervisor Sackett shared, “What we saw today is that the folks we delivered to were very intelligent members of our society that appreciated our conversation. I think we’re in an era where people don’t know their neighbors. People can be really isolated, so the conversations may be as valuable, or more valuable than the meal, frankly.”

 

During one visit, Supervisor Sackett encountered a woman who had experienced profound losses in her life and shared the struggles of preparing meals for one. “She indicated a loss of a son, loss of a spouse, estrangement from a son, so she seemed to really appreciate having us sit down on the couch with her. I bet she would have let us stay longer. She expressed that it felt like a waste of energy and resources in order to prepare a meal just for herself. I saw that with my mom, too, she’d eat just a baked potato; she was really lacking nutrition as time went on, and I could see how that impacted her health. Having the prepared, nutritious meal with a couple snacks and some milk is really a wonderful thing to give to folks.”

 

Supervisor Sackett’s commitment to serving her community shined as she joined us for the simple act of delivering meals and engaging in conversations with those who may be facing isolation or difficulties.

 

Mayor Eli Beckman, a Corte Madera native with a long-standing interest in public service, also found the opportunity to deliver meals deeply compelling. “I always knew about Meals on Wheels but didn’t know exactly how it worked. When I got Vivalon’s letter, I was excited at the opportunity to see exactly how the program worked and hear directly from the folks in our community who are benefiting from it. It was meaningful for me to see with my own eyes what an impact this service has been.” 

 

During his deliveries, Mayor Beckman met a woman who had fallen in her home and had no one to help until her Meals on Wheels driver arrived and called 911. “What surprised me,” Mayor Beckman explained, “is that we assume these folks are part of a vast network of support, but the reality is that they have little to no support outside of Meals on Wheels. That’s what really struck me. Because, of course, people need meals, but the social connection becomes equally, if not more important than the actual meals.” 

 

Echoing Mayor Beckman’s sentiment, his Meals on Wheels driver, Jon, shared that he also felt like the best part of his role is the connection he’s found with the meal recipients. “You really feel you’re helping people,” he shared. Ruth, a regular on his route, always lights up when she sees him. “I don’t think she gets a lot of people coming in, so you feel you’re doing something good, and that makes you feel good.” 

 

Likewise, Ruth and many other clients often say that the visits from their drivers are the highlight of their deliveries. “I very much look forward to that knock on the door,” Ruth said, “because it’s not just, here’s your bag of food. It’s a friendship.” 

 

Community-based nutrition programs like Vivalon’s are absolutely essential to the well-being of our neighbors. In Marin County, an estimated one in ten seniors struggles with not having enough to eat, and another 25% are at risk of running out of food. When living alone and facing dwindling food supplies, the situation can become dire. Grocery shopping and cooking are not always viable options, leaving individuals to face tough decisions, like choosing between buying medical prescriptions or food. 

 

From home meal deliveries to a weekly food pantry and on-site café that serves nutritious and affordable meals, Vivalon provides older adults with over 155,000 meals and bags of groceries annually. We know these meals and connections are lifelines for so many in our community.  

 

Our neighbors are relying on us, and we rely on support from the community to ensure older adults continue receiving vital meals and companionship. To get involved this month, you can join our March for Meals campaign by volunteering, referring older adults in need to our programs, or donating. 

 

To see photos from these deliveries and learn more about our March for Meals, click here.

 

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