Name: Elaine Shellenberger
Title: Executive Director
Organization: Nutrition & Services for Seniors
How did you become interested in this work?
What drives your passion?
After 32 years my enthusiasm has never wavered because I know we are making our seniors’ lives less burdensome, and at the same time enriching the lives of our NSS employees, affording them the opportunity to be of service in so many ways. Watching them serve for all these years continues to reinforce my belief that they are truly the most valuable resource we have.
Was there a client, volunteer, or poignant moment in your work that has had a great impact on you?
I am always amazed at the compassion our employees show and the ease with which they work together. From the cooks who prepare the food, to the delivery personnel and volunteers who place those meals in a senior’s hand, to the medical drivers who carry clients to dialysis, to those who deliver pet food or garden fresh vegetables from our Grow to Share garden, to the Center Managers who oversee our congregate sites, to the office staff who document the work and ensure we remain in compliance with our funding sources, we all feel we are making a difference together. That gives me great satisfaction.
What is the biggest challenge in your work?
During so many years of providing home delivered meals, congregate meals, transportation and a variety of other services, I have seen many changes. However, I believe the coming years will prove to be the most pivotal for meal programs. It will be a challenging time but also an exciting time with many opportunities to reinvent our programs and to redefine what it means to be of service.