Weekly Feature



2015-06-05 / Local News

SOMEONE YOU SHOULD KNOW

MOW social worker delivers more than food
by ETHAN POWERS


Karen Hacher Karen Hacher Few have the opportunity to go into work every day with the knowledge that they’re making a tangibly positive impact on their community. For Karen Hacherl, that opportunity is a daily reality.

Hacherl received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Niagara University in 1984. After college, she began working with families who had individuals dealing with developmental disabilities. It was a line of work she found rewarding. She went on to become a social worker at the Erie County Office for the Disabled. This August, she will celebrate 10 years with Meals on Wheels for Western New York.

It was a position that quite literally fell on her doorstep when she responded to an ad in her local paper.

“I stayed at home for a little while to raise my family. Then I just lucked out,” she said. “I saw an advertisement in the paper that Ken-Ton Meals on Wheels was looking for a social worker.”

Meals on Wheels for WNY serves more than 900,000 meals each year, along more than 200 service routes, to homebound seniors and disabled individuals. Hacherl gives credit to her co-workers and the organization’s plethora of volunteers for making the service an invaluable safety net.

“If you can find a job where you love coming to work every day, then you’re very fortunate. That happens to be the case with me,” she said. “The staff that I work with are wonderful, as are the numerous volunteers that drive and serve. They’re fantastic, and I get to see them on a daily basis.”

Among the countless interactions that Hacherl engages in with seniors across the region are the heartfelt stories of financial and physical hardship that clients are often too eager to tell to an ear that will listen.

“It’s great to hear their personalized stories and to help get them on important programs that benefit them,” said Hacherl. “We also do a lot to help these seniors remain in their homes and live independently.”

For Hacherl, social work has been nothing less than a calling. She says she feels lucky to have the ability to help people live the lives they want.

“There are so many options for the disadvantaged out there, and often people just don’t know where to turn,” she said. “Hopefully through what we do, we’re helping them to live a fully productive life.”

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