Heidi Amundson, 53, has her master’s degree in social work and has dedicated her life to philanthropy. She is one of the longest volunteers at Meals On Wheels West — a nonprofit organization that provides nutritious meals to individuals who are unable to plan, shop or prepare meals for themselves due to illness, disability or age. She is on the state committee for the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) — a philanthropic organization where women celebrate the advancement of women and provide scholarships, grants, awards and loans to women re-entering school. She is also on the social justice committee at the Malibu United Methodist Church.
Amundson and her husband have hitchhiked through Germany, rode bicycles throughout New Zealand and have been to Tep Tep, Papua New Guinea. She grew up in Minnesota, but has lived in California for 28 years. She moved to Malibu in 2002, saying that the hiking, beach, schools and beauty of Malibu brought her here.
The Malibu Times got a chance to sit down with the woman who says she was blessed to have been able to stay at home and raise her two boys.
You are one of the longest serving volunteers for Meals On Wheels. How did you get into it and why?
I got involved in 2006. They had an ad in The Malibu Times saying they needed volunteers. Since I moved to Malibu, I was calling them to volunteer. I responded to the ad and they called me, asking to join.
How are the meals prepared for Meals On Wheels in Malibu?
The meals for clients in Malibu come from the kitchen in Pepperdine University. Pepperdine makes the meals in its cafeteria, then we go and pick them up and deliver them ... The food is made fresh every morning, so it’s fresh and local. The clients get a brown bag lunch and a hot meal. They can get up to five meals per week.
What is something people don’t know about Meals On Wheels?
Some people in Malibu are house rich but cash poor, so they don’t have money to pay for meals. There’s a hidden hunger out there. Meals On Wheels serve people of all ages. They also send birthday cards to clients. Eligibility is based on income, but they don’t turn anyone away. If anyone is interested in volunteering or if they need their services, they can call 310.394.5133.
How are you involved with the Malibu United Methodist Church?
I’ve been a member since 2002 when we moved out here. I help adorn the chancel for worship. I’m the chair of the Social Justice Committee. I’m part of the Listening Post group, which is a non-fee listening service for people. I also help out with the youth program.
You presented the P.E.O. Star Scholarship for the 2013-14 academic year at Malibu High School. How and why are you involved P.E.O?
P.E.O. is a philanthropy organization where women celebrate the advancement of women, educate women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans and stewardship of Cottey College, and motivate women to achieve their highest aspiration. It’s a sisterhood that started in 1869. It’s really nice that we have two women in Malibu who received the scholarship.
Do you have any regrets in life?
I’ve been blessed where I can do philanthropic work as a volunteer and still stay at home and raise my children. But they are getting older now and moving on. And I don’t really have a career that I can turn to. Now it’s time for me to relaunch.
What is your favorite thing about Malibu? If you could change one thing about Malibu what would it be and why?
I love the community that we are and the beauty that surrounds us. I would fix the safety and traffic on the PCH.
How was it having your portrait painted by Spinks?
She is a delightful woman and an inspiration to any woman who wants to follow their passion. She’s following her passion and is a wonderful woman.