The board, staff and especially the clients of Meals on Wheels West are very grateful for the amazing number of people who supported our annual March for Meals Community Champions event.

Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez and California Assemblymember Richard Bloom spoke movingly of their personal commitment to the mission of MOW West. We want to be sure that additional Community Champions are recognized, understanding that there are too many champions for the Santa Monica Daily Press to picture last week. A huge thanks go to both the Santa Monica Police Department, Santa Monica Fire Department and the City of Santa Monica Community Services for their ongoing support for our Delivering More Than a Meal home delivered meals program.

Paul LaClerc, Managing Director of Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, along with several energetic members of Loews’ staff, took the time to deliver meals!  Loews also donates the Avalon Ballroom for our annual Monster Bash fundraiser.

The check presentation from Centinela Feed and Pet Supply represented the generous support of Centinela’s customers and CEO Chris Nakagawa to Meals on Wheels pet programs. Centinela’s donation funds a dozen pet programs throughout Los Angeles County.

We also welcomed Ron Sorenson and Sister Colleen Settles from MOW West partner Providence St. John Health Center. Thanks to the Daily Press for helping to raise the awareness of MOW West and the growing need for our programs. The SMDP front page photos included Rev. Lester MacKenzie, who reminded us to “see” our clients, and Rob Sherman, Chair of the Board for MOW West.

Malibu Mayor Pro Tem Lou LaMonte reminded everyone that there is hidden hunger even in the most affluent communities. Recently, MOW West began a special outreach initiative to serve veterans of all ages. If you know a vet who may need our meals, please refer her or him to us.

Thanks to everyone who has supported Meals on Wheels West by referring people in need of our services, volunteering or donating. A special thank you to all our volunteers who deliver meals all year long to those who are unable to purchase and prepare meals for themselves due to chronic illness, disability, mobility limitation or rehabilitation from illness or surgery.

The number of meals MOW West delivered has grown 38 percent in the last 18 months. We need the continued support and donations from everyone in the communities we serve.

Thanks again to our Community Champions! Everyone please remember: Refer – Volunteer – Donate.

Chris Baca is the executive director of Meals on Wheels West.