As we put the wraps on the decade of the 2010’s here in Osceola County, we’re asking local officials and “movers ‘n shakers” to reflect on the last year of this one and the first one of the new decade, the “Roaring ’20s”, and how we’re going to best usher it in.
Wilda Belisle is the Osceola Council on Aging’s Senior Vice President of Nutrition, and heads up the county’s Meals on Wheels program. She’s been with the organization for over 25 years, and comes to work every day getting to help people. But talk to her for just 25 seconds and her passion for it shows; your heart will swell if you truly listen.
Here are her thoughts on the past year, hopes for the one upcoming and how she thinks the Council on Aging and Meals on Wheels will be serving the community when we do this again in 2029.
What were your program’s biggest wins in 2019?
“We grew our partnership with St. Cloud Police; we deliver meals during the week but we have a list of who we help and check on them on weekends. Our shelter response to Hurricane Dorian was like clockwork; some of those who had to stay here were upset but many are our Meals on Wheels recipients so when they saw us here they felt more comfortable.”
“We have new leadership at the top, and it’s worked fabulously with Wendy (Ford, the Executive Director successor to Beverly Houghland). She’s moved people to Senior Vice Presidents of their departments, and it’s been great.”
What are you looking forward the most to accomplishing in 2020?
“Well, I had said years ago that 2020 would be the year we’d end senior hunger in Osceola County. I have a lot of plans for the new year, but my biggest hope is trying to accommodate the needs of every special need and diet. We’re trying hard to get someone to help us put that into action.”
“I need to talk to business and restaurants to get them to adopt a (Meals on Wheels) route. If we can get that help, we’ll eliminate our waiting list. I’ve been working with city of Kissimmee to find space to develop a community garden.”
What will Meals on Wheels look like in Osceola a decade from now?
“This is the best community ever. Osceola County is awesome. If you have a need, people will come to help. People came out of nowhere when our funding was cut. I’m not doing this alone. We have more people working toward the same goal: taking care of people who need help. My hope is that, in the future, when anyone needs our help, we’ll be able to turn and say, “Here.”