Lights sparkled in the snow at Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana on Thursday when they hosted their Light the Night for Senior Hunger Winter Lights Kickoff. This holiday season, Meals on Wheels is collecting donations for their Light the Night campaign, their most successful fundraiser. This year they added a new partner to ensure they can provide meals and support to more seniors than ever, NIPSCO.
The Light the Night campaign collects donations from across Northwest Indiana, both directly and through a number of “community trees” carrying information about Meals on Wheels scattered across businesses around the Region, like Strack & Van Til. For each donation, a luminary is added to a Winter Lights display outside Meals on Wheel’s Merrillville office, celebrating the contribution and the light the donation will bring to a Region senior.
“Nine out of ten of the individuals we serve have told us that we allow them to stay in their homes,” said Sandra Noe, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels NWI. “We allow them to have a visitor during the day. That’s warmth. That’s compassion. That’s adding light to someone’s life. When our donors are celebrating the holidays with their family and friends, we want them to know that their contribution has allowed a senior to do the same thing around a Christmas tree in their home.”
The event is a huge success each year, allowing Meals on Wheels to continue growing and help more seniors than ever. This year, NIPSCO is matching every donation of $50 or more – up to a total of $10,000. Every dollar helps another local senior stay at home for the holidays and NIPSCO’s Public Affairs Manager, Rick Calinski, was proud to flip the switch that lit the luminaries on Thursday.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize just how impactful Meals on Wheels is for senior citizens,” Calinski said. “Some of them might have disabilities or otherwise lack the ability to make a nutritious meal for themselves every day. The folks here are providing a fantastic opportunity to keep those seniors healthy and in their homes. And from talking to people that receive the service, I learned how much they look forward to it – they love hearing that knock on the door.”
For the team at Meals on Wheels, seeing the luminaries flicker on was very personal.
“You know, it means a lot to me,” said Jodi Bella, Business Development Manager at Meals on Wheels of NWI. “There are a lot of seniors in the world, and especially out there in our community that need our services but aren’t able to afford them. These funds lets us help everyone who needs them, and it feels so right that’s happing here in the season of giving. We’re always amazed at how wonderful and supportive everyone in the Region is for us.”
Learn more about Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana and take part in Light the Night at mownwi.org.