Riedel Foundation will match $30,000

“It was like old friends week. We had a great time and a great turnout, with about 300 people there.”

Debbie Catlett, executive director of the Hannibal Nutrition Center, was describing how much she enjoyed the HNC's annual dinner and auction on Feb. 10 at the Quality Inn and Suites.

“The weather was bad, and it was cold, and people still came,” Catlett continued. “At the dinner everybody knew everybody, and I felt like all my friends were there to support the nutrition center and to support me (as a cancer patient).”

She estimated $31,000 was raised at the dinner and auction, and was pleased to report that the Riedel Foundation has promised to match $30,000.

Before auctioneer Dale De La Porte began seeking bids for the donated auction items, the people made bids on silent auction items. All proceeds will benefit the home-delivered meals program.

Catlett said that perhaps “the highest (item) at the auction was a semi-automatic gun. It went for $1,000, and we had two of them. We had great gifts. The community gave so much. … We also had a raffle drawing for a rifle, and the man who won was not there.

“Dale De La Porte is such a great auctioneer, and he won't take anything for it,” Catlett said, adding “Dale was in a drawing for a Glock pistol, and he won. We were so thrilled he won.”

With an annual budget of $1.1 million at the nutrition center, Catlett said, “We probably get half of our money from the state and federal government, and a quarter of it comes from our clients who are able to pay for their meals.”

In addition, “We raise over $300,000 a year with fund-raisers,” she said. “We do a lot of catering and have a fish fry and the Steve Carroll Annual Golf Tournament and our other contracts. This community shows so much support for this program.”

Carol Tatman, route supervisor, reported the nutrition center prepares approximately 800 meals a day on weekdays, including 350 delivered to homes and the lunches served in the dining room on weekdays at the center, 219 S. 10th St.

It also delivers meals seven days a week for several agencies, Tatman said, including three meals a day to the Hannibal Community Supervision Center and to Turning Point (formerly the Hannibal Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse). And meals are delivered to three adult daycare agencies.

Catlett thankful for prayer

as she battles cancer

As she continues cancer treatment, Catlett explained, “I am nearly through a set of chemotherapy, and in March they will do a brain scan to see if the brain tumors are still gone. All but one tumor is gone from my lungs, and it has shrunk to half of its size. I truly believe in the power of prayer, and so many people said to me 'You are on the top of my prayer list' or 'We pray for you every day.' Just to have people think about me in a good way and pray for me helps my spirit so much and helps keep me alive and keeps me fighting.

“I thank the board of directors for the way they supported me for the past year,” Catlett added. “I had brain surgery in June 2017, and they stuck with me and wanted me to come back. … I have been there 26 years. It feels like a forever job, and I don't want to quit, and my board made it possible.”

Tatman reported the nutrition center has nine drivers for the home-delivered meals. Some drivers are employed by the center, such as Sandy Brashears, who retired in December 2017, after driving for 21 years.

“All of our drivers are kind and hard-working, and we are just so proud to have them,” Catlett said. “At the banquet, we honored all the staff and volunteers, and board members were recognized.”

Illustrating the dedication of the drivers, Tatman reported Jim Cox fell on the ice and broke his shoulder but completed his deliveries that day before seeking medical help. He came back sooner than expected, Tatman added. “He had physical therapy and is back on the job.”

Other drivers are volunteers, including Jana Suchland, who has been delivering meals for approximately 10 years. Catlett said “She is such a sweet and giving lady. She doesn't just volunteer for us. She does so much for so many people.”

The nutrition center's drivers not only deliver meals, they make sure each recipient is OK before leaving the home, Tatman said. At times they find someone in need of help, so a family member or emergency person is called.

Catlett said one driver reported in January there had been two times more than normal people who needed help.

One such incident occurred late in 2017, when a recipient failed to come to the door to receive her meal. Her family was contacted, and she was found on the floor, unconscious. After going to the hospital in an ambulance and being treated there for several days, she became a resident of a local nursing home, where she reports she enjoys living and plans to stay.

For more information about having meals delivered or making a donation call the nutrition center at 573-221-4488 or go to the center on weekdays.

Reach reporter Bev Darr at bev.darr@courierpost.com.