WARREN - When Marjorie Dangaran came to Trumbull Mobile Meals four years ago, she planned to put the experience she gained working in her husband's medical office to good use by volunteering in the agency's office.
Instead, she ended up baking 150 blueberry muffins on her first day.
Most of her volunteer time at Trumbull Mobile Meals is spent in the kitchen, where she used to put labels on delivery bags.
“I have been volunteering at Mobile Meals for the past four years, but I have been hearing about it forever.”
— Marjorie Dangaran
"There is an interesting language spoken there. Blue. Red. Green. I learned it pretty quickly," Dangaran said, referring to the different-colored labels used on meals delivered by volunteer drivers.
She still spends a lot of time in the kitchen, applying labels to therapeutic meals every Monday. Therapeutic meals are doctor-ordered meals for clients with special dietary needs such as renal, diabetic or low-sodium.
"I have been volunteering at Mobile Meals for the past four years, but I have been hearing about it forever," Dangaran said.
NAME: Marjorie Dangaran
YEARS LIVING HERE: 63 1/2
ORGANIZATIONS: Trumbull Mobile Meals, Trumbull County Medical Society Alliance and YWCA of Warren.
She said Jean Schlecht, founder of Trumbull Mobile Meals, would talk about the agency at every board meeting of the Trumbull County Medical Society Alliance.
"Every Monday, Jean would say,'we need volunteers.' She finally wore me down," Dangaran said with a smile.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Trumbull Mobile Meals last year, Dangaran came up with an idea to collect $1 for every mile driven by agency volunteers in 2009. The campaign, dubbed "Miles and Miles for Meals," aimed to raise $84,000 by placing van-shaped paper banks around the community.
Although the agency fell short of its goal, executive director Sandra Mathews said the van campaign was the most successful fundraiser for the agency's sliding scale program, which helps subsidize client meals.
"It started out as an informational campaign, just to let people know what Mobile Meals is all about. Then Marjorie started collecting all these statistics on how many miles the volunteers drive and how many meals they deliver, and it grew into an 'educate and earn' campaign," Mathews said.
Dangaran already has started working on the agency's next campaign, which is the Ministry of Meals. It will involve area ministers volunteering as delivery drivers.
"She is just amazing. An idea comes to her and she finds a way to do it. She is relentless. In her very quiet, demure way, she plugs along and encourages us with a firm hand and warm smile," Mathews said.
But it's not just her work with Mobile Meals that earned Dangaran a 2011 Community Star award.
She also is involved with Children's Olympics, which she helped revive 10 years ago.
Dangaran also is co-chair of the Trumbull County Medical Society Alliance's health promotions committee, which she has been on for the past 33 years. Dangaran has spearheaded campaigns against domestic violence and bullying, and has advocated for healthy foods in school cafeterias to address childhood obesity.
She brought a program called "No Bullies, No Victims" from Domestic Relations Court in Summit County to the Warren City School system and came up with the idea for the "pink posters" that hang in women's restrooms, which contain vital information for domestic violence victims.
Carol Olson, acting president of the Trumbull County Medical Society Alliance, said she has known Dangaran for 10 years. She said Dangaran works with multiple agencies throughout the county to get programs running and everyone in the health field knows who she is.
"She gets an idea and just runs with it. She does so much for the community and is very humble about it," Olson said.
Dangaran met her husband, Dr. Artemio Dangaran, while she was working in the dietary department at Trumbull Memorial Hospital. He was a resident then, and he retired from his internal medicine practice in 2002. The couple has four grown children and two grandsons.