|Posted by Meals On Wheels-La Mirada on November 19, 2013 at 11:15 PM|
I began working at Meals On Wheels La Mirada in December, 1983. Pat Blanford the office manager at the time had told me that she would be leaving her job and asked me if I might be interested. I had known Pat because I had been a volunteer at the Volunteer Center and with the City of La Mirada. I told her that I was interested. I was interviewed by Jack Schmitt, who was the President of the Board of Directors and Carol Cooley who was the Director of Human Services with the City of La Mirada. I was very nervous during the interview but I had a good working relationship with Carol Cooley which put me at ease a bit. I think one other person was interviewed for the job besides me. I was offered the job and began training with Pat. The original people on the Board of Directors at the time were: Mary Jane Maloof, Dorothy Craft, Elaine Jellerson, Jack and Colleen Schmitt, John Hendren, Jerry Oxman and Florence Reed. There was a lot to learn and I remember being very overwhelmed at all of the responsibility the job entailed, especially the routing! I thought to myself, “How will I ever be able to do routing, when I don’t even drive”. My guardian angel must have been watching over me, because I somehow got over my fear, and just jumped in and did it in spite of my doubts and fears!
Our office was located at Kling Center in those days, which was located on Bluefield Ave. in La Mirada. It had been a school at one time, and the City of La Mirada had reopened a Human Services Department there which included: The City’s Human Services Staff, La Mirada Volunteer Center, Probation Department, SASSFA’s Senior Nutrition, State Employment Office, Straight Talk and Meals On Wheels. In the early years, Meals On Wheels’ meals were provided by La Mirada Community Hospital which was located on Imperial Hwy. We had three routes then and used big, metal hot boxes to keep our hot meals warm and hard-sided ice chests to hold our cold meals. The hot boxes were stored at the Hospital in those days, not in our office. In the 1980’s we served 30 – 36 clients per month, and in the 1990’s we served approximately 40 – 50 clients per month and today we are serving 70 to 80 clients per month! After La Mirada Hospital closed in 1992, we were very fortunate that Whittier Hospital on Janine Dr. in Whittier offered to provide our meals for us! In 2009, we were delighted that Portofino Ristorante Italiano began providing delicious meals for our clients!
I have helped with many different fundraisers over the years! In the early years, I can recall working on rummage sales (one of which was held on my driveway), bake sales, raffles, walk-a-thons, line dances, big band dances, Celebration In the Park Events and more Spaghetti Dinners than I can count! The first Spaghetti Dinner was held at the Holiday Inn Hotel and was sponsored by the Manager of the Holiday Inn who was a Kiwanis Club Member! That started our long and wonderful association with the Kiwanis Club of La Mirada! Many fantastic Kiwanis Club members have served on our Board in the past including: Dr. Ed Norman, Ray Haugh, Bob Stone and Lou Piltz.
My favorite part of working with Meals On Wheels has always been working with our volunteers! I have been truly blessed to know hundreds of kind and caring volunteers throughout the years! They are the most loving people that I have ever known. In December, 2009 I began working on a website for Meals On Wheels, which has been a fun learning experience for me! As of this date, Meals On Wheels has served over 491,500 meals to 2,260 different clients! It has been my privilege to have had a small part in making that possible!
Meals On Wheels has been a true labor or love for me and it is such a joy for me to see how far MOW has come since I began my journey with this fine organization 30 years ago!