Wilda Belisle is like an arm or a leg at the Osceola Council on Aging – after nearly a quarter-century of service to the Kissimmee non-profit, it’s like the agency couldn’t run without her vital work in making sure those in the community with nourishment issues get fed properly.
Meals on Wheels America has taken notice. The national leadership organization, which supports more than 5,000 community-based programs dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger, named Belisle the recipient the second annual Sister Alice Marie Quinn Award.
This is the second year for the award, given to celebrate the contributions of one of the network’s most respected and influential leaders.
Belisle, the nutrition director for Osceola Council on Aging – at least that’s the most recent hat she’s worn there – received the honor at Meals on Wheels’ Annual Conference and Expo last week in Dallas in front of leaders and staff of nearly 350 local Meals on Wheels programs from across the country.
“This is such a great honor for me because I have worked with our community in Osceola County for over 25 years and I love working with our seniors in providing them not just a good meal, but companionship too,” said Belisle. “We have such a great team and family at the Osceola Council on Aging, and I am so grateful for the hard work, dedication and compassion our team provides our seniors. To win this award means the world to me because I admire what Sister Alice Marie Quinn has done for Meals on Wheels.”
Sister Alice Marie Quinn founded St. Vincent Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles in 1977, leaving an indelible mark on the national Meals on Wheels community. With her legacy in mind, this award honors a current leader in the Meals on Wheels network who embodies her compassion, dedication and contribution, and who works to unite and advance the nationwide Meals on Wheels movement. Meals on Wheels America Members were invited to submit nominations in June of 2019. A review committee narrowed the field of nominees before the Meals on Wheels America Board of Directors voted on the final selection.
“Wilda has committed herself to serving the most vulnerable seniors of Osceola County with her whole heart, just as Sister Alice Marie Quinn did for the seniors of Los Angeles,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels America. “We are thrilled to be able to honor Wilda for her visionary leadership and effectiveness, and her incredible contributions to the Meals on Wheels movement. She is truly the embodiment of the spirit that this award represents.”
Working on behalf of homebound seniors in Osceola County for the past 25 years – the last 16 steering the Osceola Council on Aging’s Meals on Wheels into a successful, nationally-recognized program – Belisle has found new ways to engage her community to help more seniors. In 2007, Wilda was selected by Meals on Wheels America as a Nutrition Leadership Fellow. She went on to lead a March for Meals Campaign that was recognized by Meals on Wheels America in 2014 as an outstanding campaign and was a vocal and active advocate calling for increased federal funding during the 2017 #SaveLunch Campaign.