Nutrition Staff Spotlight

by | May 19, 2022 | Blog, Nutrition

This past March marked the 50th Anniversary of the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program, which includes our Homebound Meal and Community Cafe programs. In honor of this anniversary, we are highlighting our Rockstar staff that keep our programs running smoothly.

Meet Kim Baierl, she’s been the Homebound Meal Coordinator for the past 17 years! What a dedication she has had to ADRC and our Nutrition Team. If you ask her why she loves working here, she will tell you “it’s the people!” She loves knowing she’s playing a part in helping people in the community as well as being able to meet and interact with our amazing volunteers. It’s so wonderful knowing there are caring and giving people in the community who want to help others. Working with great people, both volunteers and her team, brings her joy and keeps her happy at ADRC.

Most people see the end result of a lot of hard work, a nice hot meal delivered to their door. Did you ever wonder how we manage to continue to serve 600 meals a day? Here’s a typical day in the life of Kim:

  • She starts the day checking the homebound meal voicemail, which can range anywhere from 6 to 28 messages (usually depending on holidays, the weather, etc.)
  • From the messages, she updates the system they use to keep track of who’s getting meals for the day.
  • Once that’s been done, she gets a total count of meals they’ll need to package for the day and prints out a list of how many meals need to go with each of the 34 routes.
  • All birthdays are highlighted so the meal-packing team places the meal in a special decorated birthday bag!
  • With that complete, she turns to the clipboards that go out with the volunteers. They include the list of recipients in the order the meals are delivered, a map of the route, and any other special updates or notices, including a stack of ADRC magazines once a month.
  • She takes extra time to mark any new people on the routes as well as birthdays, so the drivers are well informed.
  • Once the drivers go out for delivery, she handles any problems that may arise, whether that’s someone not home, missing meals, or anything else.
  • While all of this is going on, she’s still answering phones, checking her email, handling staff questions, and juggling the volunteer schedule – she really is a Rockstar!

Being the most senior member of the Nutrition Program, Kim has seen a lot of change in the Homebound Meal Program over the years, including multiple location moves. She said that one of the most positive changes she has seen has been being able to serve more people, provide more resources, and being able to take on the responsibility of checking on the people we serve. Another thing she mentions is feeling more connected to ADRC. Many may not know, but the Homebound Meal Program used to be completely off-site at other locations before it moved across the street from the main ADRC building.

If we could give Kim a magic wand to change and improve the program in any way, she said she would have a large building, centrally located in the city, that would be self-sustaining. The building would have its own kitchen to prepare the meals, space for volunteers to congregate, meeting spaces, and ample parking spaces for staff and volunteers.

There is a special spot in her heart from the calls from families letting her know how helpful the program has been for their loved ones. Learning how the meals have allowed their parents/siblings/friends stay in their own homes as long as possible, motivates her to keep going. The volunteers and staff are able to be the families’ eyes and ears when they can’t be there for their loved one. It’s amazing the impact the program has had on individuals in the community as well as their families. We know this program, after 50 years, would not be around without all of the amazing people involved!

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”

~Wayne Dyer

Outside of work, baking and crafts are Kim’s creative outlet and how she unwinds – she decorates cookies that are out of this world! She loves to spend time with her family and friends. If she could vacation anywhere, her dream would be to lay on a tropical beach at an all-inclusive resort, doing nothing!

Additional Information & Support

We are here to help you and your family with a wide variety of community resource options. For assistance by phone, or to make an appointment, contact us.

(920) 448-4300 | WI Relay 711

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