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Renovo women cook, deliver meals to seniors

PHOTO PROVIDED From left to right Greater Renovo Area Heritage Park members Kari and Charly Kepler, Margaret Riggle and Mary George Rhone have been delivering home-cooked meals to the elderly, an act of philanthropy that started with one meal and has quickly grown to 45.

RENOVO — What started out as three members of the Greater Renovo Area Heritage Park looking out for their neighbors during the COVID-19 Pandemic, quickly grew into a multi-faceted delivery program for seniors in the Renovo area.

Mary George Rhone, Kari Kepler and Margaret Riggle agreed to be the main chefs of the operation, doing all they can to limit themselves from being inside public buildings.

After preparing and delivering 45 meals on Saturday, which included desserts made by Anna Knauff and Martha Sykes, Heritage Park realized that they had just done their most successful day yet.

The three cooks were joined by 4-H President Charly Kepler for the deliveries. Charly and her mom Kari began by cooking and delivering a single meal.

Making their visits even more meaningful this past weekend was the fact that many of those receiving meals would normally have been observing Palm Sunday in their local churches. Sykes blessed palms and gave them to those wishing to receive them with their meals.

“So many of the elderly that we delivered to Saturday are missing their church services so Martha offered her blessings and we handed out the palms,” explained Rhone.

After Kari and Charly started the act of kindness soon three members of Heritage Park started to personally finance the meals and delivery. When others discovered their efforts, the kindness quickly grew.

“Many of the local community started pitching in. Bucktail class of 1976 jumped on board. Even the elderly themselves are making donations to assist their peers. I swear, this is the most humbling experience that I have ever had,” said Rhone.

Safety of course is of the utmost importance to those involved. In addition to limiting their exposure to the public, they are wearing masks and gloves during food prep through delivery. When delivering meals, the crew is adamant that the person receiving the food stay inside until they walk away. Even from that, kindness is spreading.

Rhone explained that while making a drop-off on Saturday a woman thanked them, mentioning that she had to go to the store later on. “No you don’t, I’ll go for you, what do you need,” Rhone said heard a man shout to his older neighbor.

“Heritage Park, being historical, also has been serving the community in our mission statement, but the main thing is we really want to help our elderly at this point in time… our true historians,” summed up Rhone.

Depending on the length of the social distancing guidelines, Heritage Park could see their meal delivery program grow to three days a week.

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