Bonnie and Mike Koller
For the friends they visited, the Kollers were their only source of food, and, sometimes, even their only company.
“We have five children that we are very proud of because they’re out there serving people. We’re a community of people – we’re supposed to be together.”
Mike and Bonnie are retired, but they have kept volunteering because,
“You gotta give back.”
Volunteering runs in the family for Mike and Bonnie Koller – they met Caring for Friends’ founder Rita Schiavone over 45 years ago and have been making meals and delivering them ever since. They even got their children involved from the very beginning.
“Rita Ungaro Schiavone was a dynamic and very altruistic woman. When we met her, that’s when we started making meals at home with whatever little bit we had leftover would get packed and shared with people like Marge.”
Marge was one of the first people the couple delivered to with their kids; there would be many, many more in the 48 years they generously volunteered their time, including John, a former plumber who got sick with emphysema and needed help once he became homebound. For the friends they visited, the Kollers were their only source of food and, sometimes, even their only company.
Mike is 84 now and still delivering meals to people younger than him. He has never given up on the people in need. And he recognizes that one day, he may need the help.
“At times, it wasn’t easy. I was working two jobs and rode a motorcycle. And there were a couple of times where I was just so tired from riding there after work. But you know what? I’ve been blessed with good health, a great wife, and wonderful children. So giving back to your community, it wasn’t much.”
Even in the heat of summer, cold of winter, and during Covid, and even though Mike and Bonnie are retired, they have kept doing it because, “You gotta give back.”
They do other charity work, but no matter what, they keep supporting Caring for Friends and the people we serve. “We’ve been involved with many community and cherished organizations, but thanks to Rita, she really gave us another outlet, and here it is.”