Volunteers … the ‘heart’ of Yukon Mobile Meals

JoAnn and Jerry Dinwiddie honored as 2022 Volunteers of the Year

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Yukon Mobile Meals’ Director Joanne Oltmanns (left) presents a gift to JoAnn and Jerry Dinwiddie, the program’s 2022 Volunteers of the Year. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Volunteers are the “heart” of Yukon’s non-profit home meal delivery program, contributing 400-500 hours monthly.

Yukon Mobile Meals’ volunteers and other supporters were lauded for their contributions during a volunteer appreciation hamburger feed June 16 at the Dale Robertson Center, 1200 Lakeshore.

The program has operated from the DRC over the past 25 years.

Yukon Mobile Meals started in 1975 to feed elderly, disabled and convalescing “homebound” Yukon residents unable to prepare their owns meals. The mission continues today.

“We’ve been successfully serving the community of Yukon now for 47 years,” Director Joanne Oltmanns told the audience. “We could not do this without you volunteers.

“We can’t say ‘thank you’ enough.”

Yukon Mobile Meals counts on a team of dedicated helpers to prepare, package and deliver hot meals (and smiles) Monday through Friday. The program serves Yukon residents.

“Your work is so very important to us,” Oltmanns told her volunteers. “We have six routes that cover the city. There are generally two volunteers (per route) who drive and deliver those meals.

“We use two volunteers to help in the kitchen.”

The only paid employee is kitchen supervisor/cook Jason Copeland.

“We work closely with the City of Yukon since we use their building to operate out of,” Oltmanns said. “We have a board of directors that guides us.”

Board members are President Donna Jones, Vice President Keith Henson, Secretary Casey Barnett, Treasurer Jason Beal, Donna Jung, DeeDee Bos, Beverly Sparks, Christine Russell, and Kyle Woodall.

Yukon Mobile Meals volunteers enjoy a volunteer appreciation hamburger feed June 16 at the Dale Robertson Center: From left, Helena Scott, Leonard Scott, Brady Peck, and Alison Peck. Volunteers contribute about 5,000 hours annually to Yukon Mobile Meals. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
Yukon Mobile Meals’ Board of Directors: From left, Yukon Parks & Recreation Director Chris Lucas, Kyle Woodall, Christine Russell, Jason Beal (treasurer), Beverly Sparks, Donna Jones (president), Joanne Oltmanns (director), Donna Jung, and DeeDee Bos. Not pictured are Keith Henson (vice president) and Casey Barnett (secretary). (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
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‘VOLUNTEERS OF THE YEAR’

Honored at Thursday’s luncheon were Jerry and JoAnn Dinwiddie, who are the 2022 Volunteers of the Year for Yukon Mobile Meals. They’ve volunteered since August 2011.

“They do a little bit of everything,” Oltmanns said. “They volunteer in the kitchen, deliver meals, help out when I’m ‘in a pinch’, and put baskets together for wintertime when we have to close because of bad weather.”

Jerry and JoAnn Dinwiddie have grown close to many meal recipients.

“Sometimes, they take a little longer to deliver their route because they do a lot of visiting,” Oltmanns noted. “They’re great volunteers.”

When Yukon Mobile Meals started 47 years ago, the program had nine clients.

Today, more than 100 people receive the weekday lunch meals. The menu is a general diet low in fat and sodium.

“During COVID, our numbers went up as high as 120,” Oltmanns said. “After the first of the year, our numbers dropped off to about 80 but we’re back up there again.”

Yukon Mobile Meals has only had four directors in those 47 years. Oltmanns has served two stints as director, most recently from 2011 to present.

Besides counting on volunteers, the program relies on donations and fund-raisers.

Yukon Mobile Meals hosts a popular bingo night at 6:30 p.m. on the first Thursday each month at the DRC. Proceeds help cover costs for any recipient who can’t afford to pay the suggested $2-per-meal donation.

Learn more about Yukon Mobile Meals by calling (405) 350-5900 or emailing mobilemeals@yukonok.gov

Angela Perry is Yukon Mobile Meals’ newsletter/brochure editor who helps promote the non-profit program’s effort to feed homebound Yukon residents unable to prepare their own meals. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
 Yukon Mobile Meals’ Volunteers of the Year Jerry and JoAnn Dinwiddie “cut the cake” to help celebrate the program’s 47 years of community service. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
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