“To make life a little better for the less fortunate than you, that’s what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for oneself but for one’s community.” (Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

This quote is one reason I have been on the RBG bandwagon for a number of years. This is such a simple quote, but it certainly summed up her life’s work, and I think it perfectly captures the essence of our volunteer force. So many of you regularly share your stories and experiences with us and they echo your strong commitment to your community. It’s inspiring.

The work that you do sustains us. You reach clients every day, and in ways that staff can’t. We were brought to tears last week about a grocery shopping volunteer who covered the cost of groceries for two struggling clients. These clients have no local family and have very meager budgets with which to buy groceries. When learning of this gift, these clients—both in their 90s—cried about this gesture and called it a “Christmas miracle.” They were emotional and grateful. When our shopping coordinator, Bethany, passed this information on to the donor, she in turn, shared it with her children. They were so moved that they offered to pay for groceries for two more clients in need. What a fantastic way to support the community and honor a parent’s goodwill! The holidays are difficult for some, as is wondering if you have enough food to get through the week, or month. This donor gifted renewed hope and joy, along with a bag of groceries. I find that very powerful.

It’s these types of gestures, along with your intrepid spirit and deep compassion, that have fueled Meals on Wheels for the last forty plus years—and will continue to fuel our spirit for many more.  It’s one of the reasons we were voted “Nonprofit of the Year.” Everyone here chugs along just doing what we feel to be right for people who need us. And, I have to say, we do it very competently. The people involved in the agency now and those leaders, volunteers, and donors involved from the beginning of Meals on Wheels, have created an ethic of compassion and professionalism of which we are all very proud.

And we’ve been noticed for our good work and its effect on our community.

I’m beyond thrilled to share with you that Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley has received a $1.5 million gift from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. It is, quite simply, because of the good work that we—all of us—do.

We were one of only 384 organizations that received gifts nationwide out of nearly 6,500 organizations she and her advisers considered. Ms. Scott announced $4.1 billion in donations on December 16. (LINKTO: https://mackenzie-scott.medium.com/384-ways-to-help-45d0b9ac6ad8)

We can celebrate this remarkable gift together because it’s a reflection of the tireless work and ongoing support from every volunteer, donor, staff member and partner who has helped us succeed over more than four decades.

Every day, you see first-hand the real and meaningful impact that we deliver. That’s what Ms. Scott is recognizing with her gift. You helped make this gift possible. Thank you!

The gift will give us the capacity to reach even more people and invest in new services. You know that the need grows every day in the Valley. The pandemic has tested our creativity and resourcefulness. Volunteers like you have been the real heroes in our work.

Ms. Scott’s gift presents us with both an opportunity and a challenge to do even more. I’ll be working with our Board of Directors over the next few months to responsibly allocate and manage the funds so that they support operations as well as investing in our future. I’m excited for what’s ahead!

Thank you again for all you do for our staff and clients.

Have a wonderful holiday,

Vicki Coyle

Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley