Role model teens fashion a reputation for helping their community

Neighbors

March 09, 2000|By Joni Guhne | Joni Guhne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

On SUPER TUESDAY, while many of their classmates slept late because of the election closing of public schools, area teen-agers showed up bright and early at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church in Severna Park, ready to work.

The young ladies -- Katie Edwards, 14, of Gambrills; Emily Wilson, 14, of Davidsonville; Elyse Kranitz, 15, of Annapolis; and Annie Bik, 16, of Pasadena -- were in the big, commercial-grade kitchen at Woods to assist in the preparation and delivery of food to 59 clients of Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland.

The young ladies are members of Marley Station Model Teens, a club that aims to build self-confidence by promoting fashion awareness among its members and requires them to spend 10 hours of volunteer service in the mall as well as additional time in the community.

"These girls are not only models," says Nancy Shores, project administrator for Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, "they're role models, too."

On this community service day, they assumed the role of professional kitchen workers -- wearing paper caps and disposable plastic aprons.

Shores had good reason to be impressed with her volunteers. It's safe to say that many teens have only a passing acquaintance with the stove and dishwasher in their homes, but you'd never have known it by how adeptly the volunteers did their jobs. They seemed at home in the big kitchen.

Their assignment was to prepare the hot and cold meals that Meals on Wheels clients receive each day. The cold meals Tuesday featured Muenster cheese sandwiches, a salad and dessert, with juice and milk.

When the cold meals were completed, the volunteers proceeded to the more difficult task of assembling hot meals. Tuesday's menu consisted of barbecued beef, peas, carrots and cauliflower, which the girls deftly scooped and ladled into divided aluminum containers for delivery by volunteer drivers.

Food for hot meals is prepared in the commissary kitchen of Meals on Wheels' Central Maryland headquarters in Baltimore, then transported to three sites in Anne Arundel County -- Woods, the Pascal Senior Center in Glen Burnie and St. Martin's Lutheran Church in Annapolis -- for packaging and delivery to about 1,800 clients. The client list includes child and adult day care centers.

Marley Station Model Teens Cathryn Tallerico, 16, and Meredith Hennen, 16, both of Mayo, joined the group to assist with the mid-day deliveries throughout the Greater Severna Park area. While these teens were at Woods, seven other young people were preparing and helping to deliver meals at the Pascal Center.

Shores couldn't have been more pleased with the thoughtful, businesslike attitudes of the young volunteers. "These girls have done a wonderful job," she said. "We're always looking for volunteers. We can use help at any of the three sites -- either in the kitchen or on the delivery routes."

Homebound clients benefit not only from receiving two nutritious meals a day but also from the human contact and social interaction with the volunteers who bring food to their doors.

Woods church began its commitment to serving homebound residents in 1972, when it inaugurated its Mobile Meals program. Two years later, it joined Meals on Wheels, which has been serving Central Maryland for nearly 40 years.

If you'd like to see how the girls model clothes, they'll be decked out in prom clothes for fashion shows at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. April 1 at Marley Station mall.

For information on Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, call 410-558-3663.

Its Anne Arundel County office on Cypress Creek Road in Severna Park can be reached at 410-263-5444.

Golden memories

You might recall the senior ice hockey team from Maryland mentioned in this column last month. We didn't want to leave you wondering how the team fared at the first winter Senior Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y.

It turns out Severna Park's John Buchleitner and fellow members of the Geri-Hatricks team returned home in triumph, wearing first-place gold around their necks.

To Buchleitner, what's even more important than Senior Olympics gold, he says, is the memory of making a goal and an assist during the competition. His wife, Barbara, and their son, Neil, who attends the State University of New York at Potsdam, about an hour from Lake Placid, were at rink-side to witness the victory.

Bill Wellington, at 78 the team's oldest member, was the oldest skater in the hockey competition. For this, he received his "15 minutes of fame" when he appeared on NBC's "Today" show March 1.

"Playing in this league is lots of fun," Buchleitner, 63, says. "Older people don't have that cutthroat attitude on the ice, and after the [Olympic] games, we shared experiences at the local pubs."

Buchleitner was tickled by the names of the teams he competed against. His favorite: "Grateful Living."

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