Mid-Columbia Meals on Wheels won’t have to reduce services this year after a successful fundraising campaign, the director said Monday.
The program faced a $65,000 funding gap brought on by a dip in state and federal money and some other factors, and officials feared they would have to cut about 9,000 meals this year by closing the seven dining centers one day a month and stopping home delivery on that day as well.
A letter was sent to volunteers and donors, and local media also picked up on the story, including the Herald, which featured Meals on Wheels in its Holiday Wish List series that ran throughout the month of December.
About $50,000 was raised, with the rest of the gap filled by budget savings the program made last year, including closing on Christmas Eve, said Marcee Woffinden, Meals on Wheels director.
“We are so thrilled (with the fundraising). We know Meals on Wheels is a great program. This tells us the community also knows it’s a great program,” she told the Herald.
Meals on Wheels still will need help from the community to keep pace with the growing demand for services, Woffinden said. The program has been serving about 5,000 to 7,000 more meals each year for about five years, she said. In 2013, the program served about 155,500 meals through home delivery and dining centers.
The recent fundraising effort brought in enough to maintain service at last year’s level but not to accommodate any growth, Woffinden said. The population of Americans age 65 and older is growing.
For more information about Mid-Columbia Meals on Wheels, call 735-1911 or go to www.homedeliveredmeals.org.
-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org