Meet your government
Every Monday The Times takes a look at someone who helps keep our local governments running smoothly.
Sometimes, government comes to your home in a very personal and endearing way, and that’s why Stepheine Bellotte says she has found her chosen career at the age of 27.
Bellotte has been the volunteer coordinator for the Gainesville-Hall County Community Service Center’s Meals on Wheels program since 2006, and says she is not leaving the post unless someone makes her.
"Hopefully, this will be the thing I do for the rest of my life," Bellotte said.
Bellotte recruits, trains and coordinates the schedules and delivery routes of about 300 volunteers who lend their time and their vehicles to deliver hot meals to the senior citizens of Hall County who need them.
Currently, the Meals on Wheels Program provides a hot lunchtime meal to residents age 60 and older, delivering approximately 400 meals daily, Bellotte said.
The volunteers keep the Meals on Wheels program rolling, and Bellotte said she enjoys bringing people together to serve the senior citizens of Hall County.
"The seniors that we’re delivering to are the ones that helped build this community," Bellotte said.
Bellotte especially enjoys bringing young people together to serve senior citizens, and says she can’t wait for her 3-year-old son to get older and learn about Meals on Wheels.
One of Bellotte’s most prized projects is one that involved coordinating a group of students from East Hall High School to deliver meals for a day.
"If our youth can take just an hour out of their busy day just to see how precious life is ... hopefully what they see will make them appreciate what they’ve got — their health, their age — and make them see that they need to make better choices," Bellotte said.
Although there are approximately 300 volunteers, usually Bellotte and the other Meals on Wheels employees have to deliver meals themselves.
But the meal delivery is what sealed the deal for Bellotte’s love of her job and her decision to make a lifelong career of it.
"When you go into a home and a client says ‘thank you for bringing this’ and it’s just a meal, it’s just one meal, and they’re so appreciative just because you took time to do that ..." Bellotte said. "It makes you very thankful for your life. ... It makes you feel really good."