One million! One million of anything is an extraordinary amount. That is the number of meals served to the homebound, elderly and infirm of our city by Galveston Island Meals on Wheels since its inception in 1974. 

At our present cost of $4.50 per meal, that would be an expenditure of $4.5 million — a staggering sum for a volunteer organization that receives no federal, state, county or city tax support.

That amazing accomplishment is a tribute to the dedication and hard work of our volunteers and the generosity of individuals, corporations, companies and foundations that provide us with the financial ability to carry out this mission for the past four decades.

Our financial benefactors are vital to sustaining the organization since we receive no public funding. We rely on the generosity of these wonderful people for their support of our fundraising efforts and events.

There is always a heart and soul of any organization — no matter how large or small — and for us that is unquestionably our volunteers. Five days a week, 52 weeks a year, rain or shine, holiday or not, volunteers joyfully greet our recipients and deliver to them a hot, nutritious meal. 

That nutrition is vital to these people who are not able to provide it for themselves, but the joy of conversation and human contact is treasured and greatly appreciated by the recipient who may have no other visitor that day.

On many occasions, our volunteers have discovered a recipient to have suffered a health crisis and promptly summoned medical help, thus avoiding a catastrophic outcome had no one intervened. The service provided to the homebound recipient by our volunteers goes far beyond a meal.

We celebrate four decades of service with a 40th Anniversary Celebration on April 25 at The Hotel Galvez. The evening will include a seated dinner with wine, cash bar, music by the Henrietta Robinson Jazz Ensemble and raffle of many exquisite items.

They include an all-inclusive seven-day vacation stay for four at Waterman’s Resort on the Adriatic Sea in beautiful Croatia (airfare not included) courtesy of Marion and Diane Duzich and Farley Girls; a six-day vacation stay for six to eight people at The Lodge at Bear Creek, Colo., donated by Freddie and Dr. Dawn Black; a staycation weekend for four that includes lodging at the Victorian Condo Hotel in Galveston, dinner at Farley Girls Restaurant and golf for four with Sunday Brunch at the Galveston Country Club; and a $375 gift certificate for Creative Photography donated by Manny Chan.

Gala tickets are $90 and can be purchased by contacting Joy Incaprera at 409-770-4588 or 409-744-5852. Raffle tickets are $10 or three for $25. You need not be present to win.

There will be several surprise raffle items for those in attendance, including a weekend stay for two at an exciting destination with airfare included. Raffle tickets can be purchased from Maggie Benham at 409-392-8400.

Thank you for your continued support and, hopefully, we will celebrate many more years of service to the most vulnerable and needy of our city.

Donna Kearney is president of Galveston Island Meals on Wheels.

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