Meals on Wheels for Western New York, Inc., (MOW) facing the immediate challenge of raising $67,500 to cover the costs of providing 25,000 additional meals to elderly and special needs recipients in December, is conducting an appeal to raise those dollars. The agency budgeted for 840,000 meals this year, but troubling economic conditions and an ever-growing demand have raised that number to 865,000. In 2008, MOW also experienced a 12 percent increase in the cost of meals.
“There is a shortfall of $67,500 in what we need to pay for meals through December 31,” Benjamin A. Gair, III, MOW Chief Executive Officer, reported. “We can’t deliver meals that we are unable to pay for, and we don’t want anyone to go without this vital lifeline of food and friendship, particularly during the holiday season.”
“We cannot absorb the added expense, which would have a devastating effect on our nutrition programs that also include daily well-being checks to ensure our participants’ health and safety,” Gair said.
MOW is appealing to the general public for donations to help close the budget gap. The most critical time period – when budgeted funds will be depleted – is December 20 through 31. “Our entire organization is working hard to accommodate the needs of our elderly neighbors for these life-sustaining meals,” Gair said.
Richard A. Grimm, III, a partner at the Buffalo law firm of Magavern Magavern Grimm, LLP, is serving as chairman of this year-end appeal.
Gair added: “On behalf of the homebound individuals we are privileged to serve, we are asking the community to help. Every donation in any amount is important and can make a difference.”
He explained that even the most modest contributions are helpful. The cost of providing two home-delivered meals to an individual for one day is $5.40. A donation of $40 will cover all meals for one person for a week.
Meals on Wheels for WNY provides nutritious home-delivered meals throughout 22 area communities, including the City of Buffalo. Staff and volunteers are committed to delivering nutritious meals and providing related support services to those who have a limited ability to shop and/or prepare meals for themselves.
For many of the homebound people served, human contact, conversations, and laughs may be all too infrequent. Some program participants do not see another human being other than a MOW volunteer all week. The importance of the daily visit is, quite simply, immeasurable.
Contributions may be made online through the organization’s secure web site; sent to Meals on Wheels, 100 James E. Casey Drive, Buffalo, NY 14206 or call (716) 822-2201, ext. 27.