We want to take a moment to recognize and thank Elisa Benner for three incredible years of service. She showed up one day thinking that she was going to volunteer to drive and deliver Meals on Wheels and found herself with a job as Volunteer Manager. That ends the beginning of September after three years of incredible service that included the creation of our first Volunteer Handbook, creating documentation to become a PA Waiver vendor, systematizing and documenting the volunteer scheduling process, serving on the board of Meals on Wheels of Pennsylvania, developing relationships with other non-profits and local businesses, creating our Refugee Job Training program, formalizing our relationships with Intellectual Disabilities organizations, piloting and overseeing The Social Call visitation program and our seasonal cleaning volunteer program, and communicating with hundreds of volunteers. Those are just the highlights and they aren’t even all of them.
I am personally grateful to Elisa who showed up and said “I heard you were doing interesting things. I want to be a part of that however I can.” And she has proven that to be true. Elisa has met every idea we have come up with the kind of “how do we do it” attitude that allows organizations to grow. And boy have we grown. Since Elisa joined the organization we have doubled our daily clients. Since Elisa started hanging around we have seen a more than doubling of our volunteers. We have seen an increase in staff and our public perception has increased. It is hard for me to imagine Meals on Wheels without her anymore because she has been so instrumental in making us what we now are today.
But it isn’t goodbye, either, because Elisa isn’t moving. She is going to be moving on though spending some of her time dedicated to working with animals as a dog walker, enjoying her retirement from a career in education (which she thought she was doing when she walked into our doors), and we expect we’ll see her here every now and then delivering a Meals on Wheels route as a substitute driver. And we look forward to seeing her in the new building because the new building was only accomplished by an incredible team effort lead by a volunteer force that is unparalleled in Lancaster County and she took what was great and made it greater. We were fortunate to have her and we’re glad she’ll be staying around even if it’s in a different capacity. If you see her, thank her for her work. Thousands of meals have been delivered on time and with a warm and friendly face because Elisa’s formidable organizing and managing skills.