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Webster City Meals on Wheels in need of donations

GUEST VIEW

The internet tells us that the first known deliveries of Meals on Wheels, in the United States, was in Philadelphia in 1954, and that currently the program serves 2.4 million seniors annually. It was a 1971 that Ray Roden, then pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, brought together a group of citizens to talk about starting Meals on Wheels in Webster City. The group talked about how to fund the program. After much discussion, it was decided not to become involved with government funding, but instead to get financial help from the Webster City community.

Meals on Wheels was founded as an effective solution to the three biggest threats to our seniors which are inadequate nutrition, isolation and safety. Delivering much more than a meal, it provides a safety check and the warm smile and friendly conversation that enables millions of seniors to remain in their own homes. The cost of providing a senior citizen Meals on Wheels for an entire year is equivalent to less than 10 days in a nursing home.

Volunteers are key to our program. There are three delivery routes in Webster City that are covered five days a week, including holidays by our 22 regular drivers and 19 substitutes. Many of our drivers have been delivering meals for 10, 20 or even more years. They will tell you it is an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Our champion drivers were Norman and Irene Gordon, who delivered meals for 30 years. If this is something you would like to do, give Julie Tharp a pone call at 835-2188.

Our meals are prepared in the kitchen of Southfield Wellness Community. They do a great job preparing a nice variety of great tasting meals, with special attention to any food issues our recipients might have. The meals are ready for delivery by 11 a.m. each day and it usually takes about an hour to cover the routes.

The Webster City Meals on Wheels fiscal year runs from October through September. Last year, we delivered 9,075 meals. The cost to the program for a meal is $5. Our recipients are invoiced on a sliding scale from $5 per meal to no charge, based on the recipient’s ability to pay. Last year, we had a deficit of $20,000 to cover our costs to provide the meals.

As we stated above, because we have no government funding, we have always depended on donations to make up the difference in costs versus receipts. For many years we received more than enough contributions from donations, memorials and our various service groups which covered the payment differences. We also received a very large gift in a will. Donations have lessened in the last few years, and we find we will be in financial trouble soon.

There are several ways that you can held fund the Meals on Wheels program:

• Donations to Meals on Wheels, PO Box 45, Webster City, IA 50595

• Memorials for friends or loved ones

• Donations from service clubs

• Bequests in wills

• Choose Meals on Wheels as a choice for end of year donations for tax purposes

• Specify “X” amount of dollars as an ongoing yearly donation.

All funds received will be acknowledged for your records.

For more information, contact Bob Erickson, president; Mary Long, secretary/treasurer or Julie Tharp, drivers.

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