Giving Back: Kevin Ressler

Winter 2018 Fig Giving Back Feature Article.

At Meals On Wheels Of Lancaster, Kevin oversees an operation that delivers more than 400 freshly prepared, nutritional meals a day to community members who battle food insecurity. Since he joined the organization in 2014, Kevin has been working tirelessly to bridge the generational gap and release the stigma of people who are food reliant. He’s also connecting members of the community in so many ways. “If we’re just the pizza delivery guy, then we are failing in our mission,” says Kevin.

Kevin and the team of nine employees at Lancaster Meals on Wheels have been finding new ways to engage volunteers and partner organizations to connect, help and give. The Meals on Wheels team includes over 70 daily volunteers. Together, they delivered more than 160,000 meals in 2017, and is on track for over 175,000 meals in 2018. Last year, they worked with more than 500 volunteers. Many volunteers do much more than meal delivery, like deep cleaning homes, turning beds and yard work. They’re building relationships and helping meal recipients live healthier, happier lives.

When Kevin tells the story of a recipient, it feels as familiar as if they were old friends. Mr. Johnson received a renal diet meal from Meals on Wheels for eight years as he underwent dialysis. When he finally got his kidney transplant, Mr. Johnson no longer relied on Meals on Wheels. “It’s not always about feeding people at the end of their lives,” says Kevin. “Often our work is about giving people back their health, whether a long-term malady or short term surgical recovery.”

When Kevin Ressler was just a kid, he had a realization. “I thought, if everyone on this earth looked out for each other instead of ourselves, that would mean that there would be 8 billion (minus one) people looking out for me.”

Kevin has been taking care of those 8-billion-minus-one people ever since. A community organizer, activist, Mennonite preacher, world traveler, former candidate for mayor and the executive director of Meals on Wheels, he has made giving forward his life’s work.

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