Meals director meets challenge and wins

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 27, 2002

Sharon L. Dewitt, director of the Suffolk Meal on Wheels Program, has recently been awarded a $1,000 Challenge Award from the Meals on Wheels Association of America.

During March, Suffolk Meals on Wheels participated in the March for Meals Campaign that was sponsored by the Meals on Wheels Association of America (MOWAA). This was held nationwide to help raise funds and recruit volunteers. Suffolk volunteers collected over $3,500 in donations for the local program and the promotion recruited seven new helpers and 12 new recipients.

DeWitt said that as the director of Suffolk Meals on Wheels and coordinator of their March Meals campaign, she was so impressed by the efforts that their volunteers put forth and the support of their rural communities of Suffolk and Windsor, that on May 10 she applied for a Challenge Award through the MOWAAA.

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&uot;Prior to the March for Meals Campaign, MOWAA had pledged to each participant an opportunity to qualify for one of nine nationwide cash grants totaling $500 each,&uot; said DeWitt. &uot;These cash grants would be awarded to those they judged as the &uot;Best&uot; Meal Programs who achieved overall success including; donations, participation, creativity, press and media coverage, community involvement, volunteer recruitment.

&uot;My hope in applying for the Challenge Award was to either receive a $500 cash grant or an Honorable Mention-both of which I felt I could share with our Meals on Wheels program the entire community of Suffolk and Windsor.&uot;

Much to her surprise was the news from Enid Borden, the CEO of Meals on Wheels Association of America, about the $1,000 award.

Hugh A. West, chairman of the Board of Directors for Suffolk Meals on Wheels, said that Dewitt did an outstanding job of planning and executing.

&uot;It really astounds me that she did the report in such a short notice,&uot; said West. &uot;Her excitement and enthusiasm were contagious and I’m proud of her and our entire Meals on Wheels organization. Also our volunteers are remarkable.&uot;

The grant proposal that won DeWitt the $1,000 was placed among the top eight programs nationwide and took her only one month to put together. West said that fact alone speaks volume about her efficiency.

The actual award will be presented to DeWitt

when she attends the Meals on Wheels Association of America National Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Once the actual payment of this Challenge Award has been made, Suffolk Meals on Wheels (SMOW) will have collected a total of over $4,500 in donations to the local program for the March for Meals Campaign.