MacArthur social worker, Meals on Wheels volunteer wins state award

DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) — Nothing stops the MacArthur High School Meals on Wheels volunteers — not cold, not snow, not anything.

"Miss Kelly likes to say we brave the conditions," said volunteer Kayleigh Barrett, a junior at MacArthur.

"Miss Kelly" is Kelly TerHark, school social worker and Meals on Wheels coordinator for MacArthur.

"I love working with the kids," TerHark said. "I never have a week that goes by where kids aren't asking if they can come with me to deliver meals on wheels."

TerHark has been helping kids and families for more than 25 years.

No one gets into social work for the recognition, but TerHark is quietly turning heads with her commitment to service. The Illinois Association of School Social Workers named the top social worker in the state for 2018.

"She's caring," Kayleigh said. "She's a good listener."

Those skills come in handy whether it's working with a student and their family or organizing the kids to drop off the meals once a week.

"She brings a lot of life to our program," said Meals on Wheels volunteer coordinator Laura Cullison. "She's very reliable."

Meals on Wheels is product of the partnership between Catholic Charities, Decatur Memorial Hospital and volunteers like TerHark and her students.

Despite the new award to add to the shelf, TerHark says nothing is really different. She's going to keep doing the same work she's been doing for nearly three decades.

"It's an honor," she said. "It's an honor I really can't describe."