On Thursday, May 11, over 450 older adults living in Perry and northern Dallas County will be met with a smile and warm greetings at their door as 150 volunteers hit the streets to deliver baskets full of love and encouragement through Project Deliver the LOVE, a special community outreach event created by Perry Lutheran Homes.
This year, a secondary goal has been added: raising funds to keep the home-delivered Meals on Wheels program operating for older adults in northern Dallas County.
Launched in 2021, Project Deliver the LOVE is a home-grown, award-winning event that brings the community together to do good, have fun and celebrate our older friends, neighbors and loved ones. Each year, 150 volunteers, called #DifferenceMakers, start at Perry Lutheran Homes Eden Acres Campus to pack up the baskets with fresh fruit, puzzle books, snacks, devotionals and more.
These small teams then set off to deliver the “love” to older adults living in their homes. Through area churches and community partners, most basket items are donated, leaving funds raised to support delivering meals and love every weekday throughout the year to home-bound older adults in Perry, Adel, Minburn, Dallas Center, Granger and Woodward.
“Project Deliver the LOVE is an event you can volunteer for and donate to and physically see with your own eyes the impact it has,” said Jennifer Rothfus, marketing and admissions coordinator at Perry Lutheran Homes. “It’s quite remarkable to witness the power of just one visit to let someone know they are thought about and loved. Of course, some of our deliveries are to residents who have family and friends close by, but others do not. We all need to feel loved, and that’s what this event is about.”
Project Deliver the LOVE volunteers are needed to sign up for 1.5 hour shifts anytime from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to assemble and hand-deliver the love. For a fun and meaningful time, volunteer in teams and/or pairs. Spots fill up fast, so sign up online soon to get your preferred time slot.
Surveys are included in Project Deliver the LOVE baskets each year. Here are just a few of the large number of positive responses from recipients in 2022:
- “It put sunshine in my day!”
- “I felt grateful and wonderful! Thank you for making the basket for me and bringing it! I was blessed and really enjoyed talking to those who brought me the basket! You made my day!”
- “I am 80 years old and have little company. Visitors are a blessing.”
In a June 2020 poll conducted by the University of Michigan, 56% of older adults said they felt isolated and lonely. The COVID-19 pandemic forced even more older adults into a state of loneliness and isolation. Community is about looking out for others. And through Project Deliver the LOVE, this is a very visible, impactful and fun way. Project Deliver the LOVE helps volunteers make that first point of contact with the goal that they keep in touch.
“I saw how Project Deliver the Love brought far more than just a basket of food and other items to elderly folks here in Perry,” said sponsor and volunteer, Gus Henrici, chaplain at Tyson Fresh Meats in Perry. “Many appreciated the fact that someone had thought of them and took the time to physically show up and express care and love in a very tangible way. We had some great conversations and spent time listening to their stories. Many expressed how much they appreciated this kindness and how alone they have felt. I was reminded of how valuable our older citizens are and how much they have contributed to our community.”
Make a difference in the lives of others! Sign-up online to volunteer or email or call Sarah Federwitz at Perry Lutheran Homes to volunteer at sfederwitz@PerryLutheranHomes.org or 515-465-5316.
Basket assembly takes place at Perry Lutheran Homes Eden Acres Campus at 1300 28th St. in Perry. Each volunteer packs up baskets and then delivers them to older adults in the community. Volunteers will need to be age 12 and over in order to assemble baskets and age 16 and over with a valid driver’s license in order to be a driver for delivery.
In addition to volunteering, community members are encouraged to think about older adults they know age 75 and older and who live in Perry or within a 10-mile radius of Perry and who would feel joy in receiving a personal delivery and a basket filled with food, fun and encouragement. Submit names by April 28 to the Perry Lutheran Homes online or email or call Sarah Federwitz at Perry Lutheran Homes to volunteer at sfederwitz@PerryLutheranHomes.org or 515-465-5316.
“Imagine the power of a visit nearly every day,” said Lynette Groenenboom, Perry Lutheran Homes development director. “That’s what Perry Lutheran Homes Meals on Wheels program does for older adults living in Perry, Adel, Minburn, Dallas Center, Granger and Woodward throughout the year. Over 20,000 meals are prepared, cooked, transported and delivered. Just as important as the nutritious meals are the daily visits and wellness checks by kind and loving Meals on Wheels delivery drivers. The costs to prepare, cook, transport and deliver over 20,000 meals each year far exceeds available funding, leaving a sizable program deficit of over $100,000. This program is not sustainable unless organizations, businesses, communities and individuals step up to financially support this life-saving service.”
Please consider sharing your love through a financial contribution. Your gift will be used to not only make an impact on 450 older adults in one day but also to provide daily meals, wellness checks and love to older adults in northern Dallas County. If your business, congregation or service organization would like to contribute financially, we have an excellent sponsorship program that provides our Project Deliver the LOVE partners with unique value in return. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, contact Lynette Groenenboom at lgroenenboom@PerryLutheranHomes.org 515-465-5342 ext. 232.
Mollie A. Clark is the director of marketing for the Perry Lutheran Homes.