On Thursday, November 4th, Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland (MOWCM) presented our 2021 Virtual Thanks for Giving event, “Unity and Heart”, celebrating volunteers, donors, and community partners that are at the core of what we do.

Two very special volunteer awards were announced, The 2021 Ernestine McCollum Volunteer of the Year Award and The Ellen Falk Annual Group Service Award.

Ernestine McCollum Volunteer of the Year Award: Gerry Galuardi

In the 1950s, Ernestine McCollum, head of the Dietary Department at Johns Hopkins Hospital recognized the need for nutritious meals for elderly and disabled people living at home. Alongside Beatrice Strouse from the National Council of Jewish Women, Ernestine started Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland in 1960, delivering the first 10 meals to older adults in Baltimore. Over the years, Ernestine remained committed to the organization giving of her time and energy to others. The Ernestine McCollum Volunteer of the Year Award is given to one special volunteer who shows extraordinary dedication to the organization.

This year, our Volunteer of Year is Gerry Galuardi. Gerry began volunteering with us at the beginning of the pandemic, packing meals and working on the tray line. He became a regular, volunteering multiple times each week. Gerry always shows up with enthusiasm, brainstorming how to make the process smooth and efficient. Gerry is also the writer and performer of The Meals on Wheels Shuffle, a fun song explaining our packing process. Thank you for everything you do in service to MOWCM!

The Ellen Falk Annual Group Service Award: McCormick and Company, Inc.

Ellen Falk spent 40 years in the nonprofit world, including a long career as the Director of Volunteer Services at MOWCM. Ellen always moved with love, bringing goodness and appreciation to work every day. She expanded the hearts of her friends, colleagues, and MOWCM volunteers with her love of people and infectious spirit.

The “Ellen Falk Annual Group Service Award” was established in 2021 to honor her memory. This award reflects Ellen’s tireless energy and focus on introducing new groups to MOWCM and inspiring them to volunteer to be of service to those in need.

The award is made to a group, organization or company that has demonstrated their commitment to serving clients through MOWCM volunteer programs.

The 2021 recipient is McCormick and Company, Inc. McCormick and Company has had a longstanding relationship with MOWCM, starting in 1990. They have sponsored our Night of a Million Meals event, participated in employee giving programs, and volunteered their time. During the COVID-19 pandemic, McCormick has donated nonperishable food to clients and spice kits to volunteers. Thank you for a wonderful partnership McCormick and Company!

To view the 2021 Thanks for Giving recording, click here.