Delivering meals and human kindness

Northwestern Medicine
News April 22, 2022
Bill and Lorraine Bonk, of Orland Park, have delivered more than 900 meals, with a side of human kindness and meaningful connection for the people who rely on the Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital Home-Delivered Meals Program. The married couple, who will celebrate their 60th anniversary this month, is all about teamwork, not just for each other but for their community. Bob has volunteered at Palos Hospital for 11 years and Lorraine for six years.

"This program is not just about the food they deliver, it is about the human kindness they give to each person," said Donna Nadelhoffer, Volunteer Services manager at Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital. "If someone is lonely Lorraine would make sure to give that client a cheerful card every week. They handed out flowers on their own and much more. Most of all they made a meaningful connection with each person, providing sunshine with each delivery."

This year, the couple helped the Home-Delivered Meals Program when it was in a jam. Usually, they each pick up meals from the hospital and deliver them once a week on different days. During this past winter, the Bonks stepped up to support the program five days a week when other volunteers were ill or out of town.

"We just feel this is a part that we should be doing," said Lorraine. "Someday, someone may be doing this for us."

Bob and Lorraine have lived a life of service. Bob was a teacher and coach for Quigley South High School and Lorraine was a church and school administrative assistant. When they retired, they wanted to continue to give back to the community.

"We have the time, so we make volunteering a priority," said Lorraine. "Whatever stage of life you're in, you can find a reward in giving your time and your talents."

During National Volunteer Week, April 17 to 23, Northwestern Medicine salutes volunteers who are essential to delivering patient-centered care and ensuring that every patient has an excellent experience. More than 900 Northwestern Medicine volunteers across the health system volunteered more than 111,000 hours of service in 2021 at 15 locations.

Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital's Home-Delivered Meal program provides access to nutritious food, in addition to a wellness check for participants. Over 8,000 meals were delivered in 2020. During the pandemic, the need for this service was amplified because of an increased number of seniors sheltering in place and needing access to food.

To learn more about volunteering at Northwestern Medicine, please visit nm.org/patients-and-visitors/volunteer.



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