July 2021 Each year, as part of Artomobilia Weekend, John Leonard and his fellow organizers host Fuelicious, an event that features a distinct collection of automobiles in a unique environment and a premium culinary experience to an audience of committed automotive enthusiasts, but also serves as a fundraiser for a selected Indiana nonprofit organization to raise awareness throughout the automotive enthusiast community. Fuelicious will feature 50 distinct collector cars at the Lucas Estate on Friday, Aug. 27 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. This year, the proceeds from Fuelicious will benefit Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana, which is marking its 50th anniversary with new grant funding and a renewed commitment to our Hoosier community. What Is Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana? Founded in 1971, Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana has expanded its services in recent years to include the delivery of medically tailored meals. In 2015, Meals on Wheels joined the Food Is Medicine Coalition to grow its ability to serve Hoosiers with chronic medical conditions. The organization partners with several Central Indiana health care institutions to prepare client meals. Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana is marking 2021 with the organization’s 50th anniversary as well as an influx of funding and ongoing fulfillment of its core mission: delivering hundreds of thousands of meals to individuals in Central Indiana who are critically or chronically ill or unable to leave their homes. Last year, Meals on Wheels Central Indiana’s volunteers delivered nearly 430,000 meals and 8.9 million meals statewide since 1971. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced unprecedented shutdowns in March 2020, Meals on Wheels’ services continued uninterrupted. During the period from March 2020 to March 2021, the organization’s 400 volunteers delivered 428,913 meals. Meals on Wheels also packed and assembled pantry boxes of nonperishable food for clients during the pandemic, providing 14,000 meals through the boxes. Requests for financial assistance increased significantly during the pandemic, from $85,000 in 2019 to $220,000 in 2020, a 160% increase. “The majority of clients that we serve are below the age of 55,” Communications Manager Brandi Sasore shared. “We’re dealing with comorbidities such as diabetes, renal disease, heart disease, cancer and persons living with HIV. We are passionate about making sure no one has to face the dual crisis of hunger and illness.” A Second Layer of Support for Hoosier Families Throughout 2020, the Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana volunteers were even more vital to the organization’s efforts. In addition to delivering meals to those who were homebound, these 400 volunteers provided a second layer of support by assisting with “wellness checks.” While the organization’s typical protocols were adjusted to ensure the safety of both the volunteers and the clients, the efforts were made to assist the client and their families who could not physically check on their loved ones as a result of the pandemic. “Another aspect of our program that I don’t think a lot of people know about is our volunteers who deliver meals also do wellness checks because that social/emotional connection is so important,” Sasore said. “We are a watchful eye and second level of support for families.” How Can You Help? Purchasing tickets to this year’s Fuelicious is one way to assist Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana. The proceeds will go directly to the organization’s financial assistance fund. You can also make donations online and/or sign up to become a treasured volunteer with Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana by visiting mealsonwheelsindy.org. For more information on Fuelicious and to reserve your table/seats, visit artomobilia.org.