Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana Celebrates Donors at Thank You Dinner

Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana Celebrates Donors at Thank You Dinner

The kitchen of Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana was filled with some of the Region’s most generous, compassionate, and giving members as the local nonprofit broke bread with some of its most charitable donors.

“Our donors are amazing,” Rachel Hurst, Director of Development at Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana, said. “Many people have donated for years because they see the impact that Meals on Wheels has on Northwest Indiana. They are amazing, and we wouldn’t be able to do any of this without them.”

Click Here for More Photos

The event, held at the Merrillville facility, invited donors to sit down with one another to celebrate the contributions that make it possible for Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana to better the Region. Attendees got a close-up look of the facility’s extensive kitchen that prepares meals for those in need.

“Our commercial kitchen is really kind of a hidden gem of Northwest Indiana,” Jodi Bella, Business Development Manager, said. “Not a lot of people know it’s here. We like the donors to come in and get a feel of where the magic happens, and we want a chance to say thank you.”

Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana served a variety of foods, including brisket, one of the many meals delivered to those in need. Donors got a chance to try the food that their contributions provide the Region.

There was no surprise that the meal was delicious. Donors know how Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana prioritizes delivering quality, good-tasting, and nutritious food to the community. They aim not only to meet but also to exceed the standards for food quality.

“People have preconceived ideas of our food. It’s pretty darn good,” Bella said of the brisket as donors cheered in agreement. “We’re so much more aware of food and the quality of food.”

In addition to celebrating all donors, Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana highlighted special, significant contributions. The organization recognized their newest Meal Heroes, Bill Modrak, Susan Modrak, and Derek Kinney, as well as the newest member of the 1977 Society, Dick Gilbert.

“We would not be here without them,” Hurst said of all the donors. “They are essential. Every year, volunteers provide a quarter million dollars’ worth of donations to us to deliver meals. Donors help cover the cost that makes meals affordable to people. Every meal costs more to create and to deliver with a wellness check than what we actually charge people. Donors help make that gap up, and they make it possible to deliver 350,000 meals a year through Lake, Porter, and surrounding counties.”

For many of the donors, their connections to Meals on Wheels is personal. Donors Tom and Deb Tylka of Tom and Ed’s Autobody find their passion to donate to Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana in their family’s history with the organization.

“Our parents were on Meals on Wheels,” Deb Tylka said. “We realized what that is and how it helps all people, not just our parents. Someone looks in on them five days a week. It’s more than food.”

“It’s really about the human connection,” Sandra Noe, Executive Director at Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana, said. “It’s about having not only that warm meal show up, but also that smile and someone at the door to show up and break up the day. It gives dignity to growing old.”

Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana acknowledge and shows their appreciation of each contribution and the profound effect it has on the community of Northwest Indiana.

“You are our future,” Noe said in a speech to the organization’s donors. “I know as we look to the needs of our community, you’re going to be there for us. We’ve had some amazing donations given to us that will allow us to expand the work we do that helps to support a healthy aging community in Northwest Indiana.”

“We can’t do it without their commitment and their investment,” Bella said. “We really do appreciate everything that they do. They mean the world to us. We really can’t deliver a meal without them.”

To learn more about Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana and how you can get involved, please visit