Local Heros

Partner Hero

Edmond Mobile Meals is so fortunate to have the support of several local businesses and community groups. Here you can read about a featured one each month.

Red Valley Landscape Construction

You might wonder how a local landscaping company and a Meals on Wheels program came together to create a partnership that provides nourishing weekend meals for homebound seniors in Edmond, Oklahoma. One might think of restaurants, food service companies or grocery stores to be a more likely fit to support a nonprofit organization that provides food to elderly members of the community. However, it was Red Valley Landscape and Construction that came forward and committed to a partnership with Edmond Mobile Meals to fill a gap in the program’s services.

In a media interview about the partnership Mike Freeman, owner and CEO of Red Valley Landscape and Construction, explained how his company wanted to give back to the community that he calls home and cares for so deeply, “Red Valley is a family-owned business that lives and breathes because of our community and the people who live in it. We are truly blessed in our tremendous success and honored to sponsor such a worthy cause. Edmond Mobile Meals is a true charity in every sense of the word, and we look forward to many, many years of partnership.”

Freeman says, “As a family, and a company, we are committed to giving back through action and service with personal time and resources that serve and make a difference in the lives of others in our community.” Freeman’s family agrees. His son Grady was very close to his great-grandmother who was also a recipient of meals on wheels. Their relationship was the driving force behind this partnership idea. He has been instrumental in planning not only the Let’s Eat fundraising event, but participating in the Edmond Mobile Meals teen leadership council as an 8th grade student and coming up with special items and projects to serve the needs of Edmond Mobile Meals clients.

While Edmond Mobile Meals has been delivering meals each weekday for over 40 years, there had never been a meal service option available over weekends. In 2016 Edmond Mobile Meals conducted a survey of clients to discover any nutritional needs that were not being met at the time. For clients who lived alone, the answers indicated they would eat mostly packaged foods over the weekends when Edmond Mobile Meals did not deliver their lunch. Some examples included easy to prepare frozen items, chips or highly processed foods and snacks. Edmond Mobile Meals researched various options to create a weekend meal program but had not received any external support until Red Valley Landscape and Construction became involved. They were looking for the right opportunity to give back to their community and believed in the mission of Edmond Mobile Meals. After engaging with Edmond Mobile Meals for a few months, Red Valley became further involved with the organization. Their employees began volunteering and delivering meals each month, co-owner Michelle Freeman became a member of the Edmond Mobile Meals Board of Directors, and after learning of the need for healthy weekend meals, Red Valley offered to become a long-term partner and establish a new program for clients in need of that extra assistance on weekends. They created a brand-new fundraising event, now in its 3rd year, called “Let’s Eat!” The proceeds from this single event fund Edmond Mobile Meals’ weekend meal program year-round.

Red Valley hosts the Let’s Eat event each June at their outdoor Display Gardens. It includes a gourmet dinner from local restaurants, live entertainment, dancing and a silent auction. They invite vendors and clients to participate, match attendee donations that evening and handle all event preparation. Edmond Mobile Meals supports the event by selling tickets, collecting items for the silent auction and working with participating restaurants. Let’s Eat is a Red Valley company-wide initiative with their staff and family members all participating. Without the partnership between Red Valley Landscape and Construction and Edmond Mobile Meals, the weekend meal program would not exist and nearly 100 seniors in Edmond would not have nourishing food every weekend.

It just takes one company with a big heart and willingness to help others to make a huge impact on the most vulnerable in a community. Red Valley Landscape and Construction went above and beyond the call of donor. They became a long-term partner with Edmond Mobile Meals to help fill a critical need in the lives of many vulnerable members of the Edmond Community. It’s because of this partnership that Edmond Mobile Meals has delivered over 8,000 weekend meals to homebound seniors in just 2 years. We are extremely grateful for the generosity of Red Valley Landscape and Construction and their commitment to make sure no senior in Edmond goes hungry.

Volunteer Hero

Michelle Hara

The Edmond Mobile Meals staff and Board of Directors would like to thank Michelle for the unbelievable amount of time (Blood, Sweat & Tears) to assisting one of our clients who was in need of far more than a daily meal.

Mr. C was living in an extremely unsafe and unhealthy situation. Michelle recognized that he needed an extra hand, and so she jumped right in. (Literally….see photo above).

Michelle spent countless hours cleaning, organizing, driving, shopping, appointment-hopping, and hole digging to assist John so that he might be able to remain living in his home. If you drive this route, you know first hand how much of a difference Michelle has made in his quality of life.

THANK YOU, Michelle, for the love you have shown to John and many other clients since you’ve been a volunteer at Edmond Mobile Meals.

We hope you know how lucky we feel to have you volunteer with our program!

Here’s a little interview with Michelle. If you see her around, give her a high five!

Q: How long have you been volunteering with Edmond Mobile Meals & what do you do?
A: I’ve been volunteering at EMM for about 3 years or so. Time flies when you’re having fun! I deliver meals.

Q: What initially interested you in volunteering with Edmond Mobile Meals?
A: It was an opportunity to help people in need in the community and a much better use of my free time than watching TV!

Q: What do you enjoy most about serving with our organization?
A: I enjoy meeting the clients and making them smile. They are always grateful for the service Edmond Mobile Meals provides.

Q: Why do you think it is important to serve the community you live in?
A: A community that has a strong base of volunteers will thrive under any circumstances. Edmond has a great group of volunteers who show up to help at our fun events, but also in times of need. It is rewarding to be a part of something bigger than your own family and to meet and work with like minded people.

Q: What has been your favorite (or most memorable) moment/experience as a volunteer with Edmond Mobile Meals?
A: Helping Mr.C. has been rewarding. It was something I had the time for, so I volunteered to clean his home so he could stay there. There were times when the task was a bit overwhelming…like the day the pipe broke in the front yard and I volunteered to dig to find the pipe that was supposedly only 2 feet down. As the hole kept getting deeper and deeper, eventually 4 feet deep, I was laughing at myself and asking “what have you gotten yourself into now?” All in all, 4 months of perseverance paid off. John is happier and healthier and it is nice to make a difference one person at a time. I wonder who will need my help next and what the challenge will be.

Client Hero

Dorris Johnson

Q: Can you tell me a little about yourself?
A: Well, my husband was in the military for 23 ½ yrs. After a while, I retired in california before moving to Oklahoma in 2008. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed in Oklahoma its the crazy weather! Coming from California I was also shocked experiencing the earthquakes here. They are small in comparison, but normally you wouldn’t think of them being that way in this part of the country! The last job I worked was a part time gig at Memorial Edmond high school. I was retired at the time also but just looking for something to fill my spare time.

Q: What is your favorite childhood memory?
A: I loved to play jax as a kid, we also play games here in the apartments and were just talking about this earlier! Other than that, I started reading pretty early at 9 years old. We had a teacher who actually lived next door to us growing up. I was sitting on the steps one day, and she started to talk to me about reading. Some of the first books I went through were Drum and Drum Major written by Kyle Onstott. The series follows a slave in the south and shows some of the tragedies of slavery at the time. Later on I got into the book The Learning Tree as well. Soon after I was shown some of these books, I joined a book club at school and have enjoyed reading ever since!

Q: Favorite place you’ve traveled?
A: Turkey, I really just loved the mix of the old and the new there. Some of the architecture was a sight to see. Also, to sit and watch the caravans and nomads moving by the roads in the afternoon was an experience! Traffic was crazy though! All the drivers seemed to blow their horns for no particular reason. You will probably get hit if you are in the street!
Some of their standards and customs would definitely stick out to westerners. One specific example is that if a shepherd were to be hit (by a car), they are to be left in place for three days to let other nomads pass by and identify them. This might sound odd but it is just a courtesy so the news of someone’s death could be passed on to loved ones. Food was also one of the great things in Turkey, you could get a full meal with multiple courses for just $5.00-$7.00!

Q: What are some of your favorite meals?
A: I honestly love most of the dishes that Edmond Mobile Meals sends out. One thing that I think should be pointed out is the variety given to those who use the service. For some of the seniors, it could actually be one of the only meals they have that day. Mobile meals makes sure that they get veggies, protein, and you can’t forget the desserts!

Q: What advice would you give to young people?
A: I would say to stick to being yourself and keep your beliefs throughout life. God will lead the way in a lot of situations when you aren’t even aware of it!

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