ORLANDO WITH MARIETTE HARTLEY

One of the great things about making Good Food, Good Deeds is seeing the generous participation of our wonderful celebrities.  They have given so much, volunteering their time, getting down to the nitty gritty in the kitchen, and making the lives of unsuspecting seniors brighter with a surprise visit from a famous person! It’s been thrilling to experience the journeys with them as they come to realize the full extent and impact of this terrific organization; it’s a real sense of wonder and awe that I’m sure is shared by the viewers at home.

In a recent episode my dear friend—not to mention multi-talented actress!—Mariette Hartley spent some time at the Oceola Council for Aging in Florida.  Mariette is great cook, I can assure you, but boy was she surprised at the amount of preparation that the Meals On Wheels volunteers do every single day. With 1500 people to feed, the operation is massive.  Mariette was put in charge of the vegetables, and she put it best when she said, “I’ve never seen so many carrots in my life!  I’m going to have nightmares about carrots!” And Mariette thought cooking for Thanksgiving was a big undertaking.

With barely time to catch her breath, Mariette was next in the van and delivering food to the homes of these grateful seniors.  I could tell Mariette had a special fondness for Sylvia who was a real “firecracker”: 93-years-old, as feisty as anything, and sharing an apartment with 3 other widows…talk about sisters doing it for themselves!  But when Sylvia broke the news that she didn’t like carrots, the look on Mariette’s face was heart-breaking.  After Mariette had been up to her elbows in carrots all morning!  But Wilda, who ran the Oceola Meals On Wheels, was immediately on the phone and alerted the kitchen.  Sylvia, from then on, would not be given carrots.

That just shows how incredible the organization is: not only do they make it their duty to cater to clients’ dietary needs—diabetes, allergies, etc.—and their religious requirements, but they also take it upon themselves to make food that the seniors will love.  After all, if the client doesn’t eat the meal, resources are wasted and the senior, in need of life-giving nutrition, is still not getting fed.  What they do in Florida, and what I saw across the country, is a daunting job, and one that they do with enthusiasm, unflagging energy, and a breadth of spirit that is an inspiration to us all.

To find out more, and to find out how you can help, please go to www.mowaa.com.  Senior hunger has no place in our country, and we all must do what we can in order to eradicate it by the year 2020.  Meals on Wheels are certainly doing their part.  Are you?

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