The Community Foundation of Wabash County and Manchester Meals on Wheels are pleased to announce the creation of the Manchester Meals on Wheels Endowment to support operation of the program that provides low-cost, nutritious meals to homebound, ill, or disabled persons who are unable to prepare or obtain meals, regardless of age or income.
Meal fees, generous donations, and church pledges raised through annual campaigns are the main sources of income for Manchester Meals on Wheels. The endowment will provide an additional revenue source for the program. Contributions to the endowment held by the Foundation will be invested and will produce investment earnings. A portion of the earnings will be used to support Manchester Meals on Wheels programs, not the original contributions. The idea of endowments is that, carefully managed, invested contributions will keep producing and keep building annually, ensuring permanent income for an organization. Among other things, earnings from the endowment will support the Manchester Meals on Wheels scholarship program that assists clients who are unable to afford the cost of daily meals.
"We know the Community Foundation of Wabash County is committed to helping organizations in the county grow their charitable assets and we are grateful for the commitment of the Foundation in mobilizing support and relief for those who need help," says David Rogers, board member of Manchester Meals on Wheels. "This endowment will give contributors in the community an opportunity to leverage their gifts and ensure the health of the organization for a long time to come."
Unmet needs for food and meals are a problem not only in North Manchester but in Wabash County as well. According to the US Department of Agriculture, food insecurity occurs when there is "limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways." As of 2011, more than 4,500 people, or 13.8 percent of Wabash County's population, are food insecure. The average meal in Wabash County costs $2.46 per person. An additional $1,824,770 was needed in 2011 to meet the food needs of Wabash County.
The mission of Manchester Meals on Wheels is to close the gap on food insecurity. After parish nurses from two local churches became aware of the need for a meal delivery program in 2002, a board of directors was formed under the umbrella of Community Services of North Manchester, Inc. Ed Cochley, former director of Wabash Meals-on-Wheels, helped the new group organize, and Manchester Meals on Wheels began serving meals to clients in North Manchester in 2004. Initial funding was through donations from churches and private donors. The Community Foundation of Wabash County has provided assistance with office supplies through two grants.
Timbercrest Senior Living Community is the vendor for the meals, providing nutritious meals that are tailored to the client's health needs. The senior living community subsidizes meal costs to keep expenses down for Meals on Wheels clients. Apart from the Timbercrest food service employees, the organization has an all-volunteer staff. Forty-four drivers deliver meals and an all-volunteer office staff manages the program from the Town Life Center. In 2012, volunteers put in 615 hours delivering over 5,000 meals to clients.
While initially meals were only for home-bound clients in North Manchester, in recent years, the service has included clients who are unable to safely prepare their meals. Meals are delivered Monday through Friday. A hot lunch and a cold dinner are included with each delivery.
"Meals on Wheels serves a critical role in providing affordable hot meals to those in need and home bound," says Community Foundation program director Julie Garber. "The Meals on Wheels Board has taken a very forward-looking measure by creating this endowment, which will provide a continual source of support for many years. Poverty and hunger will continue in Wabash County; we hope that others will contribute to the Meals on Wheels Endowment and help those in need."
Patty Grant, executive director of the Community Foundation of Wabash County, is pleased to serve a local organization through the creation of an endowment. "Through the Manchester Meals on Wheels Endowment, the organization and the Foundation hope to preserve and sustain Meals on Wheels resources for years to come. Thanks to David Rogers of the Meals on Wheels board for leading the way to ensure that the essential services they provide will hopefully always be available to the citizens who need them."
Contributions to the endowment can be received by the Community Foundation of Wabash County, located at 218 East Main Street, North Manchester, 46962.
For more information about Manchester Meals on Wheels, call the office between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., 260-982-6010, to talk to a volunteer staff person. To learn more about the Community Foundation of Wabash County, visit www.cfwabash.org or call 260-982-4824.