"Neither rain, nor snow, now sleet" isn't just for postal workers. It's also the unofficial creed of Mobile Meals of La Crosse, whose team of 200-plus volunteers have been delivering hot meals to those in need without fail for the last 44 years -- regardless of how cold, snowy or sleety it may be outside. Or cold. (Did we mention cold?) And most of those hot meals are made in the kitchens of Mayo Clinic Health System -- Franciscan Healthcare in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
"It's a great program," Franciscan Healthcare Foundation Executive Director Peter Grabow tells us. "They do a great job." And Grabow should know, given that before taking over as executive director at the Franciscan Healthcare Foundation, he served as a Mobile Meals volunteer delivery driver for 15 years. "Mayo Clinic Health System here in La Crosse has had a contract to provide meals from the kitchen here for many years," he says. "It's been a very good relationship."
Grabow tells us that after being lovingly prepared, each meal is put into a cooler to be picked up by volunteers who deliver them around town. "Every day of the year," he says. And as Grabow recently told La Crosse's WKBT-TV, those on the receiving end are understandably thankful for the daily front-door meal service. Especially during a particularly chilly spell. "They are so appreciated by the recipients, who are very grateful for the fact that someone drove to their home, climbed the stairs, knocked on the door during a snow storm or during an ice storm or during a windy cold subzero day, and delivered that meal," he tells the station.
One of those doing the driving, climbing and knocking, is volunteer Bill Power, who tells WKBT-TV he does it so that he can help people like Marge Lueck, who the station reports is "mostly homebound" after having suffered a stroke last year. "It needs to be done, so you go ahead and do it," Power says. "The need is there whether the weather is or not." And Power also tells the station that even if he does get a bit cold from time to time while on his route, "knowing he's doing a good thing" is enough to keep the chill out of sight and out of mind.
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