Mary Ellen Bartholomew is seated and surrounded by, back from left, Charlotte Leidy, Mindy Bartholomew, Carolyn Daniloff, Marty Diaz, and Ed Bartholomew.

MILTON — A Milton woman has been selected as the recipient of the United Methodist Association’s annual Mission Award.

Mary Ellen Bartholomew, 91, has been volunteering for Meals on Wheels at RiverWoods Senior Living Center for more than 46 years. She was recognized with the 2020 Mission Award, which is an award presented to an individual who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the mission of their organization. She was one of three selected for the Mission Award across the United States.

Bartholomew was invited to accept the award at a ceremony in Boulder, Colo., but due to the pandemic, the ceremony was canceled. Instead, RiverWoods Marketing Assistant Allison Kauffman presented Bartholomew with the award Sept. 5 at her daughter’s home in Lewisburg. Several of her children were on hand for the presentation.

Bartholomew started volunteering for Meals on Wheels in 1972. She learned about the meal delivery program at her church, Trinity Episcopal Church in Milton. She decided to team up with her best friend Jane Kaar, to deliver meals to those who were homebound in the community. Bartholomew has continued that delivery for more than four decades, now delivering meals with her daughter Carolyn Daniloff. They have about 16 stops and 20 meals to deliver on their route in the Milton area.

Bartholomew said she was honored to receive the Mission Award and said she never thought about how many years she’s been volunteering.

“I don’t think that far ahead,” she said. “I just go ahead and do what’s there now to be done… and if it’s still there when I’m still here… I’ll do it.

“There are people who do not see anyone else but you that day and it always makes you feel good to see their smile and that they are happy to see you. My grandson Nicholas has gone with me. He would carry the bag in, and I’ll tell you, when those people saw a young person, they just light up. It just makes you feel good to make somebody else feel good.”

Aside from Meals on Wheels, Bartholomew was also was a hospice volunteer, delivered communion elements to members of her church who were unable to attend worship, was active on the Milton school board and served as a Meals on Wheels board member.

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