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Murrysville Meals on Wheels celebrates 45 years of volunteering

Patrick Varine
| Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, 2:12 p.m.
Longtime Murrysville Meals on Wheels volunteers Bob Banz (left) and Ruth Hill, 90, were recognized at the organization's 45th anniversary luncheon at the Lamplighter on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. Banz was celebrating his 90th birthday.
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
Longtime Murrysville Meals on Wheels volunteers Bob Banz (left) and Ruth Hill, 90, were recognized at the organization's 45th anniversary luncheon at the Lamplighter on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. Banz was celebrating his 90th birthday.
Murrysville Meals on Wheels volunteers gather prior to the organization's 45th anniversary luncheon at the Lamplighter in Salem Township on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017.
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
Murrysville Meals on Wheels volunteers gather prior to the organization's 45th anniversary luncheon at the Lamplighter in Salem Township on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017.
Tokens of appreciation sit on a table alongside thank-you letters from Murrysville Meals on Wheels recipients at the organization's 45th anniversary luncheon on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017.
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
Tokens of appreciation sit on a table alongside thank-you letters from Murrysville Meals on Wheels recipients at the organization's 45th anniversary luncheon on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017.

Peggy Schake of Murrysville no longer cooks for herself. But as a member of Murrysville Meals on Wheels , she continues to cook for others.

That spirit of service is characteristic of the organization, which formed in 1972 and marked its 45th anniversary this year with a luncheon and program on Wednesday at the Lamplighter in Salem.

"This is my favorite charity in Murrysville," said Murrysville Mayor Bob Brooks, who presented the group with the municipality's Community Service Award late last year. "I can't picture how Murrysville would look without you."

Four out of five weekdays, a group drawn from more than 200 volunteers prepares meals at First Presbyterian Church's Laird Hall, then drives them to 60 clients throughout the municipality.

Every client receives one hot and one cold meal in their delivery.

"It's not much, but it's what we can manage," said coordinator Lynn Staab, who has been a Meals on Wheels member for two decades.

Schake has volunteered as a cook for more than a decade. She got involved on a friend's recommendation.

"At one time I was also a recipient, so I got to test out how good it was," she said.

While clients do pay for the service, roughly half of Murrysville Meals on Wheels' funding comes from donations. This past fiscal year, they received donations from more than 40 groups and families, including the largest grant they have received to date, which came from Concordia Lutheran Ministries.

The luncheon also saw the retirement of longtime treasurer and member Martha Gangloff of Murrysville, who has been with the group since its inception in the early 1970s.

"She truly cares about Meals on Wheels, and she's done so much for us," Staab said.

Michele Whiting, of the Westmoreland County's Area Agency on Aging, noted that because a lack of proper nutrition is one the top factors in seniors entering nursing homes and being hospitalized, Meals on Wheels is actually helping keep seniors in their homes.

"What you do has impacts far beyond what you can imagine," Whiting said.

Brooks agreed.

"Not only are you bringing meals, but you're checking in on these folks, and that's very important," he told members at the luncheon.

The group is always seeking additional volunteers, Staab said, particularly drivers.

Schake said she once thought about volunteering to drive.

"I'm too much of a caring person, though," she said with a laugh. "I'd spend two hours gabbing and then want to adopt every single person."

For more about Murrysville Meals on Wheels, see Murrysville-MOW.org .

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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