Issue 8 / Volume 2
February 2020
Dear Friends,

I am thrilled to be joining the amazing team at Meals on Wheels Diablo Region as the new Executive Director. To lead such a dedicated group of staff working towards a common mission is a true privilege and inspires me every day. I am looking forward to building upon the strong foundation of the last 52 years to take us well into the future.
MOW Diablo Region provides so much more than a meal. I am proud that the work we do each day enables seniors in our community the ability to live independently and with dignity for as long as possible.
As a valued community stakeholder, I look forward to getting to know you over the coming months.
Keep reading to find out what is happening at MOW Diablo Region!

  • Read about how a Friendly Visitor match turned into a special friendship
  • MOW Diablo Region celebrated Valentine’s Day with hearts
  • Census 2020 is coming
  • Mark your calendars for the 18th annual March for Meals celebration
  • Be heart smart and volunteer
  • and more...

Warm regards,
Caitlin Sly
Executive Director
Sometimes it’s funny how friendships develop. For Carissa and Sandra it began when they were paired up by MOW Diablo Region’s Friendly Visitor Program, but their relationship quickly turned into one of trust and deep admiration.
Carissa was looking for a meaningful volunteer opportunity. She had worked for years with the elderly and had recently lost her grandmother, so being a Friendly Visitor to a senior sounded like something that might be right for her. “Mary from the Friendly Visitor Program put in a lot of time to find the right match. When I was paired with Sandra, it felt like we were friends for ages.”

Sandra suffered from respiratory issues that physically and emotionally wore her down, and she felt defeated, but Carissa recognized the fun-loving and rowdy soul within. “I listened to Sandra talk about the injustice of how her body had clipped her wings and didn’t accommodate her life anymore,” explains Carissa. “Once we chewed through that it was like the sun started to shine again. Sandra’s attitude improved as well as her health.”

With Carissa by her side, Sandra had the motivation to take her motorized scooter out to breakfast or ice cream or a special birthday dinner at her favorite restaurant where they treated her like a queen. The two also spent time watching old movies, dreamt up trips, had lots of laughs, talked about past experiences and hopes for the future.
Carissa was Sandra’s Friendly Visitor for two and half years until she passed away. “I never felt my volunteering was an obligation,” says Carissa. “And for anyone considering being a Friendly Visitor, I want them to know the great feeling of a hand-squeeze from a friend who understands, hearing the pureness of their laughter over the phone, and reading a hand-written card saying you’re being thought of. Sandra and I gave that to each other and I will forever be grateful.”

To learn more about becoming a Friendly Visitor volunteer please visit our website or contact Mary Hanenburg at [email protected].
As spouses pass away and social circles get smaller, Valentine’s day can become an increasingly difficult holiday to celebrate for many elderly. This year, MOW Diablo Region made sure to let our seniors know that they are in our hearts year-round with a week’s worth of “hearts and flowers”. 

We kicked off Valentine’s week by delivering handmade cards. For every Valentine’s donation made, a senior received a cute card made by some very talented volunteers. Greeting card deliveries always make our clients happy, and these were no exception. One client exclaimed, “Wow, this is so pretty! It’s going on my refrigerator!"

Once again, Clayton Valley Garden Club assembled and donated beautiful Valentine plants for local seniors as part of their “Blossoms for Barbara” initiative. Blossoms for Barbara was started by Garden Club member, Linda Karp in memory of her mother, Barbara. For the past nine years, the plants have been dropped off at our office and Meals on Wheels Diablo Region’s volunteer drivers have delivered them with meals to some very appreciative homebound seniors.
To wrap up the week, the C.C. Cafés were in full Valentine’s Day swing with festive red decorations and raffles! Love was definitely in the air at this annual event.

Love is timeless and should know no boundaries. Meals on Wheels Diablo Region wishes all of our clients a beautiful love filled Valentine’s Day.
Census 2020 kicks off in ONE MONTH! On March 12, households will begin to receive a notification in the mail inviting them to respond to the census online, by phone, or by mail. 

In talking with some of our clients, we have heard your questions and concerns about exactly what the census asks and how your census data will be protected, especially given this is the first time the census will be conducted online. The census asks basic questions, like age, name, race, and ethnicity, about each person living in your household. The 2020 Census will not ask about immigration or citizenship, social security numbers, bank or credit card accounts, or political affiliation.

  • Extremely strong laws protect the confidentiality of your census response. 
  • The Census Bureau is not allowed to share your personal information with anyone, including ICE, police, your landlord, or any other government agencies. 
  • The penalty for wrongful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both.
  • The Census Bureau can only use your response to create general information about the population, like how many people live in your city, and statistics about age, gender, and race. The Census Bureau cannot share information about you as an individual. 
  • The Census Bureau has robust cybersecurity, incorporating industry best practices and federal security standards for encrypting data.

The law requires everyone to respond to the census completely and answer all questions truthfully. Your form will still be counted if you skip a question or two, if you provide your name and address. If you do skip questions or don’t answer the census at all, the Census Bureau might follow up to ask for the missing information, either by phone or by sending a Census Bureau worker to your home.  Nine questions, ten years of impact.

If you still have questions or concerns about the safety of your census data, we highly recommend this podcast produced by Asians Americans Advancing Justice. For more information about Census 2020 and how your data is protected visit

You can also visit our website to learn how MOW Diablo Region supports Census 2020.
Congressman Mark DeSaulnier delivers a meal and chats with Mike, an MOW Diablo Region client during March for Meals Community Champions Week 2019.
Next Month marks the 18th annual March for Meals campaign and MOW Diablo Region is ready to celebrate! The month of March mobilizes hundreds of local Meals on Wheels programs across the country to reach out to their communities and build the support that will enable them to serve America's seniors all year long. It is designed to generate public awareness about senior hunger and isolation and to celebrate the invaluable services provided by senior nutrition programs.
March for Meals offers businesses, organizations, governments and volunteers, who contribute so generously in their communities, an opportunity to support homebound seniors in a variety of ways to make America stronger and healthier. Given the exemplary public-private partnership Meals on Wheels embodies, this annual campaign is also intended to showcase the successes of the Older Americans Act, help recruit new volunteers from our community, and increase fundraising from local businesses and supporters.

In celebration, Meals on Wheels Diablo Region will be holding some special events throughout the month. Our Walnut Creek C.C. Café guests will have extra special lunch companions as the students of Palmer School bring their bag lunches and join them for in an intergenerational gathering. Some of our local firemen will be accompanying our volunteer drivers to test smoke and c02 alarms for our clients and make sure they are in good working order.
During the third week of March MOW Diablo Region will host Community Champions Week when city, state, and federal officials, and other respected community leaders will join our volunteers and help deliver meals to seniors.

Ride along opportunities are available at sites throughout most of the county and typically occur between 10:00 AM and noon and vary by city. Dignitaries in Contra Costa County are in an excellent position to help raise awareness for the growing number of seniors facing hunger and isolation, both serious problems currently impacting our community and our nation at large.
To show your support for March for Meals with a generous donation please click here. To participate in a Community Champions ride along contact Lauren Garcia at [email protected] or call 925.482.2624.
Volunteering isn’t just another thing to do to fill your time. Not only is it a great way to give back to your community but volunteering also offers significant health benefits. Sharing your time is a great way to help out, and it leads to a happy and healthy life!
We encourage you to join us in making the lives of seniors a little better while reaping all of those health benefits by becoming a Meals on Wheels Diablo Region volunteer. We have different opportunities that flex with your busy schedule and bringing light and love into a senior’s life only takes a couple of hours per week. To learn more please click here or contact Lee Davenport at [email protected].
Meals on Wheels Diablo Region’s Executive Director, Caitlin Sly, and Director of Development & Community Relations, Sherry Nadworny appreciate Superintendent Federal Glover’s support of the organization’s recent holiday fundraising campaign.
February is National Heart Month. Check out this month's Health & Wellness blog to learn about the four essential heart healthy habits.

If you are interested in participating in one of our low impact exercise classes you can find the February 2020 schedule here .
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© Meals on Wheels Diablo Region 2019. All rights reserved.
Meals on Wheels Diablo Region
1300 Civic Dr, Walnut Creek, CA, 94596
United States