Often at events speakers will say volunteers are the backbone of Venice. At a recent volunteer appreciation reception, Karen Fordham, CEO of Venice Regional Bayfront Health, thanked the hospital volunteers for their 80,758.35 volunteer hours in 2018 which she said is the equivalent of eight trips to Mars.

At the hospital there are 500 volunteers including 40 teenagers. They serve at the hospital, the Health Park and the Elephant’s Trunk.

About 200 volunteers enjoyed a spectacular volunteer appreciation reception at the Plantation Golf and Country Club. Food included hors d’oeuvres, carving stations and a vegetable and cheese buffet. Everyone received a travel bag as a thank you gift.

It was a spectacular party for spectacular volunteers.

Celebrating 50 yearsMobile Meals is funded by donations and is not Meals on Wheels even though it often uses the more recognizable name. Their volunteer appreciation breakfast at Village on the Isle, that prepares all the meals for delivery, welcomed about 100 volunteers invited to take a bow. In their 50 years, volunteers were told by President Patrick Given, they’ve delivered 2 million meals.

One of the highlights of the morning was listening to stories. One was inviting Venice Mayor John Holic to go on a delivery to surprise a client with balloons and cake on his 100th birthday.

It’s clear these volunteers love their work. For meal delivery service or info, call Mary Ann Dillahunty, 941-485-2252, or contact tomaryannd@gmail.com. Here’s to 50 more years. Bravo.

One of our bestThe special person of this week is Shelley Divine. She is one of the Venice Lions who volunteers at their events like the Easter Egg Hunt and the fashion show where Shelley is one of the regulars and models every year. Shelley is on hand for serving the community with programs the Lions sponsor, like eye exams for children and adults who need special services.

Shelley is a substitute driver for Mobile Meals. At the recent volunteer breakfast the route coordinator told about the important roll substitutes have filling in when a regular route driver is ill or unable to drive.

Shelley enjoys her work catering special events and working with her husband at their new Divine’s Wine Bar. Shelley is always kind and friendly and has a gift for making people feel comfortable and at ease. She is one of the women who make Venice a great place to live.

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