Meals on Wheels drivers will receive a special recognition from the City of Cambridge this year on National Food Day.
The drivers will receive a Food Heroes award at City Hall on Oct. 24. Established in 2012, the award recognizes those who promote a fair, healthy, accessible and sustainable food culture, according to a release from Mayor Marc McGovern.
“The Cambridge Food Heroes Award is an opportunity for us to recognize the exceptional work being done to improve our local food system,” said McGovern, “The individuals being honored this year represent the diversity of the food landscape and are joined together by their shared passion for social justice. They are on the frontlines of our community every day creatively tackling issues from food insecurity to sustainable farming and climate resiliency. We are proud to honor our Cambridge Food Heroes.”
The Meals on Wheels drivers being recognized are: Milagro Mancia, Bessy Hernandez, Carolina Navarro, Manny Da Silva, Doresta McIntosh, Victoria Marquez, Wadler Vital, Daisy Ortiz, Nidia Segovia, Jacqueline Robles, Peter Wyers, Robert Iovanne, Leslie Godfrey, Kiah Bostick, and Penny Lueders.
SCES Meals on Wheels drivers delivered just under 200,000 meals over the past year. Nutrition Director Deborah McLean said the award is well merited.
“Our drivers are face numerous challenges– ranging from parking to winter weather—but they believe in our mission and they get the job done every day,” said McLean. “We really appreciate the City of Cambridge recognizing them for that.”
Combatting malnutrition is a primary goal of Meals on Wheels, but the program also provides a wellness check for participants, explained McLean. According to data from Meals on Wheels America, some 81 percent of Meals on Wheels clients say it improves health, with more than 90 percent saying it allows them to continue living at home and makes them feel safer.
The Food Heroes awards are a joint effort between the mayor’s office and the Cambridge Public Health Department. The other winners this year are:
• Amanda Escamilla, founder of Tex Mex Eats
• Pierce-Slive, manager of the Cambridge Winter Farmers Market
• Darrin Korte, Executive Director of the Cambridge Community Center
• Karen DeAndrade, lead health teacher for the Cambridge Public Schools
• Karen Williams, CRLS food service staff (posthumous award)
• Louisa Kasdon, founder and CEO of Let’s Talk About Food
• Motoy Kuno-Lewis, director of the Harvard Family Meals Program
Established in 2012, National Food Day is observed each year on Oct. 24, and promotes healthy, affordable and environmentally sustainable food choices and policy.
Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) is a non-profit agency that supports the independence and well-being of older people in Somerville and Cambridge. For more information, visit eldercare.org, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or contact the SCES Aging Information Center at 617-628-2601 for free advice and guidance.