SAGE Eldercare has named Lucia and Paul Keenan of Chatham “Sweethearts of the Year” for 2023. Each year a “couple” of standout Meals on Wheels volunteers is awarded the Sweetheart honor.
Lucia and Paul met working together and were friends for a couple of years before they began dating. The couple began volunteering at SAGE six months ago. “We wanted to volunteer our time to a program that really made a difference for people who may not have companionship,” said Lucia. “Working together as a team to brighten the days of beautiful people has brought us closer,” said Paul. The couple delivers meals in the New Providence area on Fridays.
SAGE’s Meals on Wheels program delivers two meals to homebound individuals over 60, along with a watchful eye and a smile, Monday through Friday. Before the coronavirus pandemic, 217,900 seniors in NJ were threatened by hunger, and 171,600 were food insecure or very low food secure. “Local senior nutrition programs, like SAGE’s, will continue to face difficult challenges in the coming year, including increased need for meals, phasing out of emergency COVID funding, waning philanthropic support, and soaring food and fuel costs.” said Terry Kaniuk, Volunteer Manager for SAGE’s Meals on Wheels program. “We are seeking more volunteers for meal deliveries.”
SAGE is honoring the Keenan’s as thanks for all they do. “We know” added Lucia, “our help with Sage is making an impact on so many lives and seeing their smiles upon our arrival is so rewarding.” To learn more about becoming a Meals on Wheels volunteer, please call 908-273-5554.
Donations have poured in for the Valentine’s Day holiday to cheer up the Meals on Wheels participants. Make a Senior Smile donated over 120 care packages made up of donations from friends and neighbors. Sutton Carpenter is in his second-year managing Make a Senior Smile, having taken over the reins from his older brother, Rowan, who initiated the project three years ago. They began the effort to make a positive impact on the lives of our senior population who were secluded during the pandemic. Creating special care packages with donated items, Sutton utilizes SAGE’s Meals on Wheels program to distribute the packages for Valentine’s Day. And the Summit Garden Club delivered beautiful floral arrangements to accompany the meal deliveries on Valentine’s Day.