Don Quijote Restaurant hosted its 3rd Annual VNA Meals on Wheels benefit dinner. Don Quijote owners Carlos Rivero and Elena Jambrina, generously donated the space, food, and wine, while their serving staff graciously donated their time. 100% of the event proceeds went directly to VNA Meals on Wheels to subsidize meals for those who can’t afford them and to expand the program.
VNA Meals on Wheels provides a hot lunch and wellness check to seniors in need every weekday. There are currently about 265 clients being served, and just over 150 volunteers that make the program happen every day throughout Porter County.
“We are so thankful that this is the third year in a row that Don Quijote has supported our mission for VNA Meals on Wheels,” Julie Kissinger, Life Services Director at VNA Hospice NWI, said. “Carlos has graciously opened his restaurant and said to fill it. We're charging a fee for tickets, and every single penny of that money goes towards helping feed seniors through the VNA Meals on Wheels program.”
Rivero’s business partner Elena Jambrina explained she came in on her day off to help with this event. She also explained how generous Rivero is and how much he enjoys helping the community through his business.
“From the first day that I met him he was doing benefits for different organizations and even for some people in need,” Jambrina said. “It makes me feel really good to know that what we're doing here is going to help a whole bunch of people. In this case, they're going to be elderly people, which is one of the causes that is really close to my heart.”
The event included a four-course meal with wine pairings that Rivero specially selected for each course. Rivero explained the origins and flavor profiles of each wine as well as told stories throughout the dinner.
In addition to attending the event, attendees were also able to support VNA Meals on Wheels by participating in the silent and live auctions and purchasing 50/50 and wine drawing raffle tickets. Rivero graciously donated two cases of wine from all over the world for the wine raffle.
Amy Wulf, VNA Hospice of NWI Community Liaison explained the best part of her job is to educate the community about this vital service and especially sharing the stories of the incredible work of the volunteers within the program. “The volunteers really take the time to truly get to know our Meals on Wheels clients. They go above and beyond just dropping off a meal at the door. They take the time to wait for the client to come to the door and then have a conversation with the client. The volunteers build such strong relationships with the clients, they know if something is out of the ordinary and many times, the client is willing to share any struggles they are having with the volunteer because that volunteer has treated that client with humility and care.”
“When someone signs up for Meals on Wheels, our promise is that we're going to come to bring you a hot nutritious lunch,” Kissinger said. “If we don't see our client at the door. We'll leave the meal and then we'll call them to make sure all is okay. If they don't answer the door or the phone. We're going to call their emergency contacts and make sure everything's all right.”
Recently, a client that usually opens his blinds and greets the volunteer at the door had his blinds closed and did not answer the door. After a call to the emergency contact, he was found on his floor and was able to get the help he needed. He is on track to fully recover, but that may not have been the case if it wasn’t for the VNA Meals on Wheels volunteer that noticed something was off.
“It's so encouraging to have the backing of the community. It's very encouraging to us that people care about what we're doing,” Kissinger said. “The volunteers that deliver meals every day are doing so much more than just delivering a meal. They're really providing the human connection that we all need, and of course, the nutritious lunch that we're bringing them. Meals on Wheels is such a connection to the community that is so needed. It's wonderful.”
For more information regarding VNA Hospice of NWI, please visit vnanwi.org. Volunteers are always needed.