To our community,
How we all long for a return to the familiar and fraternal greeting, “how are you?” – so suddenly replaced by the mantra-like assurance of, “we are all in this together.” It is intended to be hopeful and unifying. It speaks to shared purpose but does it speak to shared sacrifice? The most vulnerable populations in our communities have become even more impacted as their physical, economic and financial well-being are severely stressed, as they assuredly are now. We know that seniors have the greatest health risk associated with this pandemic and, for many of them, food security is problematic at best and worse currently. It is especially important now, in the midst of much misfortune, to speak out on this need to our community.
We, the undersigned, are past Board Presidents of Meals on Wheels People (MOWP). We are devoted advocates for this organization that for over 50 years has so tirelessly and successfully executed on their dual missions of assuring that no senior goes hungry or experiences social isolation. Importantly, Meals on Wheels People’s efforts keep seniors independent: out of nursing homes and less reliant on government support. Food security is paramount so, consequently, those seniors in need are not required to apply for meals; only to request them. There is no waiting list. The organization’s response to the recent spike in meal demand (2,000 new clients) has been Herculean. Increased demand has occurred in the midst of complying with the closure of their 22 dining centers, reassigning staff, training new kitchen staff, conducting increased wellness checks, instituting new cleaning protocols, processing approximately 2,100 new volunteers and implementing a new “friendly chat” program. This is altogether emblematic of their record of meeting the need, first and foremost.
Understandably, the recent jump in demand has a cost. MOWP’s leadership and staff expect incremental expenses for just the April-June period to approximate $1 million. The public response has been admirable and many new corporate partnerships have been forged as well. Certainly, this is much for which to be grateful but the radical change in the number of seniors requiring meals begs the question, won’t this need persist beyond the virus shutdown and require far greater resources?
MOWP is a well-managed and financially-viable organization that has survived recessions, bear markets and reductions in government support for seniors’ food security. But these past periods of extreme uncertainty and budgetary strains have always been met with a vigorous public response to mitigate these threats. The greater need will endure; expectations are that an extra $4 million will be necessary for the organization to continue to meet these demands. Your donations will be critical. Please consider making a gift directly to Meals on Wheels People or consider fundraising on behalf of the organization at helpmowp.org.
The community has always recognized that Meals on Wheels People is essential and worthy of public support. For that, we are very proud and appreciative.
Worth Caldwell | Nancy Delbrueck | David Drinkward | John Durkheimer | Steve Gaspar | Greg Houser | Tom Kelly | Tony Leineweber | Janeen McAninch | Dean Morell | Tawnie Nelson | Laureen O’Brien | Alan Resnik