Sustaining the Legacy | Meals on Wheels People

Sustaining the Legacy

Following in the footsteps of his philanthropic parents, Ed and Dollie Lynch, Michael Lynch continues to enrich lives in southwest Washington through his membership in Sustainers Circle, the monthly giving program at Meals on Wheels People. His commitment embodies the family’s tradition of compassionate support while providing a steady and predictable revenue for meal preparation and delivery.

Michael Lynch’s youth was far different from his parents, Ed and Dollie Lynch, who grew up “dirt poor” in California, he says. By the time Ed and Dollie moved to Vancouver, Washington, in 1957 and Michael was born in 1958, Ed had embarked on a successful career with Kiewit Pacific. Michael’s parents became involved in various charitable organizations in southwest Washington and believed deeply in giving back to others. This example set by his parents instilled a strong sense of responsibility and compassion toward those in need. “It was the culture I grew up in,” Michael says.

Michael’s journey took him and his wife, a Monica, to Newport, Oregon, where he had a successful career in consumer electronics and real estate, and they raised two boys together. When his aging parents started needing some help, Michael and Monica returned to Vancouver. Ed and Dollie had launched second careers as philanthropists, becoming one of the region’s biggest benefactors and supporting an array of causes over the years, including Fort Vancouver National Trust, Identity Clark County, and the Southwest Washington Medical Center Foundation.

Michael’s move back to Vancouver was more than homecoming; it was a commitment to give back to his parents and the community that shaped him. Although Dollie passed away in 2010 and Ed in 2015, their dedication to community service and charity laid the foundation for Michael’s own journey in philanthropy, guiding him to continue their legacy of meaningful impact and heartfelt giving.

Becoming a Sustainer

Michael first learned of Meals on Wheels People through a friend who was a volunteer. “I’m one of those kinds of people who digs in and asks around and looks at how things perform,” Michael says. “I recognized that Meals on Wheels People was serving a significant number of meals on a regular basis in southwest Washington. When I first heard of it, the number surprised me. As I dug into it and discovered the significant need, it surprised me more how significantly we need to change the level of awareness about the importance of the work Meals on Wheels is doing.”

In 2018, Michael attended a Meals on Wheels People luncheon in Vancouver, where he learned that he could, for $222, help provide meals and social connection to a senior for a month. Michael not only gave $222 that day but also became a Sustainers Circle member, donating monthly ever since. “You need consistent revenue to plan for what you folks do,” Michael says. “You need the reliability so you can be reliable for those you serve. That’s always resonated with me.”

When COVID-19 struck, Meals on Wheels People faced unprecedented challenges. Michael lauded the organization’s swift adaptation to a frozen meal program, maintaining its mission while facing a 45% increase in demand. “Meals on Wheels People didn’t just throw their arms up,” he says. “They completely reinvented themselves.”

With the support of Michael and other donors like him in Sustainers Circle, we were able to serve 165,737 meals to 1,746 older adults in Clark County in fiscal year 2023.

Michael is also a passionate supporter of MOWP’s Meals 4 Kids program, which launched in 2021 and addresses food insecurity for low-income families in the cities of Portland and Gresham. Because of our established systems and expertise in meal delivery, last year we were able to provide over 323,015 meals and extra food to 1,231 children and 879 caregivers.

“The impact isn’t just one day of impact,” Michael says. “When a child has the kind of nutrition they need in their life, they can focus on the task at hand instead of the hunger in their body. Nourishment is what helps grow the brain. It can be a total game-changer.”

Nourishing the Future

Michael’s philanthropic commitments extend beyond MOWP. Through his position as the personal representative of the Ed Lynch Estate and the Ed & Dollie Fund with the Community Foundation of Southwest Washington, Michael continues his parents’ legacy, focusing on creating sustainable change in the community. “We have a responsibility to help others,” he says.

You can become a part of a community of dedicated individuals who are making a real difference by joining the Sustainers Circle at Meals on Wheels People. This is your opportunity to ensure that the essential work of MOWP continues, reaching those who need it most, every single day.

As a member of the Sustainers Circle, you’ll provide consistent support that allows MOWP to plan ahead, innovate, and expand our vital services. Whether it’s providing nutritious meals and social connection to seniors, feeding children and their caregivers through the Meals 4 Kids program, or adapting to new challenges like those faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, your regular contribution makes it all possible.

As a member, you will be a part of a solution that addresses immediate needs and also contributes to the long-term sustainability of MOWP. You’ll be in great company with dedicated supporters like Michael, who understand that consistent giving is the backbone of effective community support.

Your ongoing support changes lives. Join the Sustainers Circle today and be a part of a group of extraordinary people committed to making our community a better place, one meal, one person, one day at a time.

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