VNA Blog

VNA Meals on Wheels and Bank of America Join Forces to Feed Local Hungry Seniors

For nearly 350 Bank of America employees, May 15 was no ordinary day at work. As part of Bank of America's ongoing partnership with VNA, Bank of America Community Volunteers participated in VNA Meals on Wheels Day of Caring for the second year. These volunteers delivered 147 routes providing 1,617 nutritious meals to homebound seniors for VNA Meals on Wheels in Dallas County. While Bank of America volunteers sign up to deliver meals on regular basis, the VNA Meals on Wheels Day of Caring is an annual event designed to raise awareness of VNA Meals on Wheels and encourage others in the community to volunteer to deliver meals once a week, once a month or once a year.

"One in every six Americans is at risk of hunger; partnering with VNA Meals on Wheels is one way that we can help make a difference to reverse that statistic," said Jennifer Chandler, Bank of America U.S. Trust Market Executive. "We believe in the power of every connection, and identifying opportunities within our own community to help fight hunger - such as partnering with VNA Meals on Wheels - helps us make that important connection."

Since VNA Meals on Wheels did not have to utilize paid drivers to cover these 147 routes, Bank of America volunteers saved VNA enough money to feed a new homebound, hungry senior for almost two years!

To volunteer with VNA Meals on Wheels, email volunteer@vnatexas.org .  We are especially in need of volunteers in the following areas: Grand Prairie, Lancaster, Mesquite, Oak Cliff, South Dallas, S. Garland and West Dallas.

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VNA Celebrates 80 Years of Aging with Dignity

Local Nonprofit Reaches Historical Milestone

On Monday, May 12, 2014 VNA will proudly celebrate 80 years of providing quality health care in the home.  VNA will honor this historical milestone throughout the year during their fundraising, staff and community events.

Established in 1934, VNA is a nonprofit organization that helps our elderly neighbors and loved ones maintain their independence by providing the services that allow them to age where they are happiest and most comfortable - at home.  What started out as a few public school nurses volunteering their time to care for the underserved, has become North Texas' Aging Resource providing services, knowledge, support and the necessary referrals and connections to help thousands of North Texans age independently.

With 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day, our aging population is growing and expanding like never before.  Every day more and more North Texans are in need of the types of services that VNA provides - Hospice Care, Meals on Wheels and Private Care.

As Texas' oldest, most experienced and trusted hospice provider, VNA Hospice Care is there when traditional medical treatments no longer offer the hope of a cure. VNA Hospice Care focuses on living life to its fullest and treating their patients and families with the dignity and respect they deserve. Their highly qualified and experienced doctors, nurses, hospice aides, social workers, chaplains, bereavement coordinators, and volunteers work as a team with the patient's current doctor to provide care that meets the medical, psychological, social, spiritual, and practical needs of patients and families. Terminally ill patients often feel like they are losing control - VNA helps give them back the control they need by providing the necessary freedom to live their final days as they wish in a pain-free, loving environment.

VNA's passion for the hungry and homebound is unparalleled. Through their most well-known program - Meals on Wheels - VNA delivers nutritious, freshly prepared hot meals to 4,000 Dallas County residents Monday through Friday. These individuals are the hidden hungry - they are homebound and unable to access resources like food banks and grocery stores.  With Texas having the 7th highest rate of hunger among seniors in the nation, it is easy to understand why supporting VNA is critical for our community.

As an affordable alternative to nursing homes and extended hospital stays, VNA Private Care empowers individuals to age, or recover from an injury or illness, where they are most comfortable - at home. As a nonprofit organization, VNA's bottom line is patient care and through their personal care services like bathing assistance, meal preparation, dementia care, companionship, housekeeping and transportation, the VNA staff is there to help.   Their rates are reasonable, scheduling is flexible, and as always VNA caregivers are held to the highest standards.

VNA currently serves all of North Texas offering VNA Meals on Wheels in Dallas County, and VNA Hospice and Private Care in Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Grayson, Henderson, Hunt, Kaufman, Navarro, Rockwall, Tarrant and Van Zandt Counties.  If you or your loved one needs help aging with dignity, or if you wish to volunteer or donate to VNA, call 1(800)CALL-VNA or email gethelp@vnatexas.org

How to Get Through the Holidays After the Loss of A Loved One

The holiday season is a time when many families come together for celebrations, warm memories and time honored traditions.   But for many, the holidays can feel like an unwelcome intrusion. The weeks of anticipation and the holidays themselves can be a time of increased pain and loneliness for those who have lost a loved one.

What may seem like the "easy" way to deal with your loss during the holiday season may in reality be the most difficult: trying to make it through the holidays by ignoring your loss, by not talking and sharing your memories of the departed, and by not acknowledging the pain and sadness everyone is feeling.  The greatest gift you can give yourself and your family during the holidays is permission to grieve which includes talking and sharing your concerns openly. Finding ways to acknowledge and honor the memory of your loved one during this holiday season can create a special closeness for the whole family. Remember, there is no right or wrong in this process of grieving.

As a family, you can give each other tremendous support once you get past the fear of talking about the person who has died but remains an integral part of your family and the holiday memories you share. Spending a few moments acknowledging your loss may give you the strength you need to reach out to others and allow yourself to enjoy this holiday with your family and friends.  The following are suggestions for getting through the holidays:

1.      Take care of yourself.

The added stress of the holidays can be exhausting. Make sure you get adequate rest, eat well, and remember that moderate exercise is a proven stress reliever.

2.      Decide what you can handle comfortably.

Grief can limit your physical and emotional stamina. Would you like assistance with some of the tasks that you have always done in the past like addressing holiday cards, baking or decorating your home?  Don't be afraid to ask for help or to make changes that will alleviate some of the stress you may be feeling. Sharing the holiday activities and tasks may add to the holiday spirit for everyone.

3.      Don't be afraid to suggest a change.

Do not feel obligated to follow past holiday traditions.  You may choose a different time to open presents or you may wish to spend the holidays in a different place.   Ask yourself if the holidays will still be meaningful with these changes. Do tell others about your ideas and plans, so that these changes will not come as a last-minute surprise.

4.      Do something nice for yourself.

Eliminate something you have always considered an unpleasant task associated with the holidays.  Spend time doing what you enjoy - going to a movie, buying yourself something special, telephoning an old friend.  Recognize and rejoice in your inner strength.

5.      Do something for others.

Reaching out beyond your pain and helping someone else during this season of good will can bring comfort and satisfaction. Many organizations - like VNA Meals on Wheels - need volunteers to prepare, serve or deliver meals to families during the holidays and would appreciate your efforts.

6.      Concentrate on the good.

Be patient with yourself and be flexible.  Allow yourself to have fun, to laugh - or cry -  and enjoy and appreciate the people around you. This is not inappropriate or disrespectful. There will be time for both sadness and joy during this holiday season.

As you work toward finding some comfort and healing from your loss this holiday, remember that you are not alone. Reaching out and sharing your feelings with friends and family is an ongoing tribute to your loved one. VNA offers free bereavement events throughout the year for members of the community grieving the death of a loved one. Please contact VNA at gethelp@vnatexas.org for more information. 

25 Years of Volunteers Delivering Meals on Wheels for Thanksgiving

500 Volunteers deliver Thanksgiving meals to homebound, hungry seniors

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For the 25th consecutive year, 500 dedicated volunteers spent their Thanksgiving morning delivering meals and a warm smile to over 3,700 homebound, hungry seniors for VNA Meals on Wheels. 

At 5:00 am VNA Meals on Wheels Kitchen Staff began preparing over 800 pounds of turkey, traditional cornbread dressing, gravy, spinach, ambrosia salad, cranberry sauce and over 3,700 dinner rolls!  Volunteers from Jesuit College Preparatory School began arriving at 7:00 am to transfer hot coolers filled with meals prepared at VNA's Beatrice M. Haggerty Kitchen to the parking lot that were later picked up by volunteer drivers at 8:30 am. Other community groups who helped deliver meals include Ursuline Academy, Plano Amateur Radio Club, Dallas Sai Center, Booz & Co., HP, Dallas Fire Rescue Explorers, Kirkwood Temple CME, Metropolitan Baptist, and Living Testimony Baptist.

Many families across north Texas have made delivering meals to homebound, hungry seniors a Thanksgiving tradition.  "Our older son was in preschool and my wife was expecting when we started delivering meals on Thanksgiving," VNA's Vice President and General Counsel Tom Ricciardelli stated.  "It has become a family tradition that we  all look forward to every year." The Ricciardelli family has participated in VNA Meals on Wheels Thanksgiving deliveries every year for the past 25 years. 

If you find senior hunger unacceptable, volunteer once a year or more to deliver food and friendship. Groups and individuals interested in volunteering to deliver VNA Meals on Wheels in Dallas County are invited to call (214) 689-2210 or email volunteer@vnatexas.org.  To donate to VNA, visit www.vnatexas.org or email learya@vnatexas.org.

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VNA Uses the Power of Pie to Help Local Seniors

Hundreds Participate in New Initiative Raising Over $25,000

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DALLAS (November 27, 2013) - Today hundreds of North Texans picked up their Thanksgiving pies from VNA Power of Pie Pickup Locations across Dallas County. But these were not your ordinary Thanksgiving pies - these were VNA Pies purchased through VNA's new online fundraiser Power of Pie and donated by THE best bakers in Dallas.  Power of Pie is an online fundraising initiative to help support VNA's mission of helping older adults live with dignity and independence at home.  During the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, North Texans went online to www.powerofpie.org, purchased a VNA Pie for $25 and then picked up their VNA Pie from their preferred Power of Pie Pickup Location in Dallas County.  VNA Pies were available in traditional Thanksgiving flavors - pecan and pumpkin - and 100% of their proceeds benefited VNA programs and services - VNA Hospice Care, Meals on Wheels and Private Care.  "We are so thankful for all those who purchased a VNA Pie," stated VNA President and CEO Katherine Krause.  "Through their support, we raised over $25,000 to help us feed hungry, homebound seniors and provide quality hospice care for charitable patients."

Power of Pie Bakers: Hilton Anatole, Abacus, KB Catering, Four Seasons Resort & Club Dallas at Las Colinas, Spoon, Empire Baking Co., Neiman Marcus, The Joule Hotel, Hotel Lumen's Front Room, The Fairmont Dallas, Lakewood Country Club, Park City Club, Kent Rathbun Catering, and Hyatt Regency Dallas.

Power of Pie Pickup Locations: Church of the Incarnation, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf , VNA Haggerty Center, White Rock UMC, Zion Lutheran School and Spring Valley UMC, Baptist Church of Duncanville, TD Industries, First Presbyterian Church of Garland and Grace Pointe Church and HP (CBRE, Inc.).

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