The Helm at the Boll Life Center is hosting its third annual March for Meals fundraiser this month. Instead of an in-person walk, as occurred during the event’s first year, it is taking place virtually with participants marching on their own.

The Helm at the Boll Life Center is hosting its third annual March for Meals fundraiser this month. Instead of an in-person walk, as occurred during the event’s first year, it is taking place virtually with participants marching on their own.

Photo provided by Karen Fontanive


The Helm raises money for Meals on Wheels with virtual walk

By: Brendan Losinski | C&G Newspapers | Published March 19, 2021

 Larry Jaminet is among the volunteers who deliver meals to homebound seniors through the Helm at the Boll Life Center’s Meals on Wheels program. Proceeds for the program will be raised through the March for Meals fundraiser.

Larry Jaminet is among the volunteers who deliver meals to homebound seniors through the Helm at the Boll Life Center’s Meals on Wheels program. Proceeds for the program will be raised through the March for Meals fundraiser.

Photo provided by Karen Fontanive

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HARPER WOODS/GROSSE POINTES — The Helm at the Boll Life Center, which serves senior citizens in Harper Woods and the Grosse Pointes, is raising money to benefit its local Meals on Wheels program.

Called “March for Meals,” the organization usually hosts a community walk to raise the funds, but this year it will be virtual due to COVID-19.

“It’s March for Meals and it’s part of a national effort to raise money for Meals on Wheels,” said Helm Executive Director Peggy Hayes. “We usually do it later in the spring, but we decided to match it up with the national march this year. We were able to do that because it’s a virtual event. Since it is done around the country, March is good weather for a lot of places, but we usually have it later because March can still have inclement weather in Michigan.”

This will be the second year the Helm has done it virtually since last year’s March for Meals also took place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is the Helm’s third annual March for Meals. Last year we also had to do it virtually,” explained Hayes. “It was at the start of the pandemic, so we did it close to Mother’s Day in May virtually. Like last year, we are encouraging people to walk whatever route they want this month. It’s ideally a 3-mile walk, which is what we would be walking together normally, but it’s up to people to decide.”

Those who wish to participate are invited to walk when and where they wish through the end of March and make a donation to the Helm to support the program.

“It’s any day through Sunday, March 28. They can drop off a check or pay online and pledge that way by that date,” said Hayes. “Those who want to participate can go to www.helmlife.org and there’s a button people can click on to make a donation, and there’s also some pre-measured walking paths we provide if people would like a suggested route. They go through Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods, but people can do their own walk also, of course.”

Larry Jaminet, a Harper Woods resident, is one of the Helm’s Meals on Wheels drivers. He hopes people recognize the difference that Meals on Wheels can make in the lives of senior citizens, not only for the food they deliver, but for the company they can provide.

“For some people I just deliver meals to, but two or three I always stop to chat with. People really do need the meals,” said Jaminet. “Before COVID, we delivered a hot meal and a cold meal every day, and now they get five meals on Monday, they are frozen, and they get milk and some fruit, so from a practical standpoint with the food and the social aspect, it really helps. A lot of them can’t drive or don’t have access to a car, so it is very necessary.”

Hayes said those who are contributing this year can get creative with when and where they walk and can donate as much or as little as they wish.

“All three years we’ve done it, we’ve partnered with Grosse Pointe Memorial Church. We usually would be marching from the church up to Pier Park along Lake Shore. This year people can choose to walk when and where they want,” she said. “We have different sponsor levels and we tell people when they donate how many meals that will help provide. DTE (Energy) is the highest level, Gold Olympian, and their donation of $1,000 helps provide more than 200 meals, as an example.”

She added that maintaining programs such as Meals on Wheels is especially important while people are weathering a difficult time.

“We gave out approximately 23,000 meals in the last year. Demand has obviously only increased since then with COVID-19,” Hayes said.

She and the rest of the Helm team are hoping to continue the program and the walks to support it for years to come.

“It’s for a great cause, it supports people in need in this community, and of all the walks you can take, it’s the easiest because you don’t even have to break a sweat if you don’t want to,” Hayes remarked. “We appreciate everyone’s support and hopefully we’ll be able to do this in person next year, and all come together again.”

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