Local News

Wake Co. Meals on Wheels deals with growing expenses

Posted July 8, 2008

— Higher food and gas costs have Wake County Meals on Wheels directors starting a fundraising campaign so the non-profit group can afford to keep clients fed.

Meals on Wheels of Wake County serves nearly 1,500 elderly and disabled persons with food. With more people requesting food, directors have had to put some on a waiting list.

“Serving fewer people’s the last thing we want to do,” Executive Director Alan Winstead said Tuesday.

Food costs are expected to increase by $50,000 this year. The non-profit group purchases food through wholesalers, whose prices have gone up.

“For some of them, it’s the only people that they’ll see all day and for some of them, it’s the only meal that they’ll eat all day,” Winstead said.

Claudia White, a Meals on Wheels volunteer, packs up meals once a week and delivers them in her own car to those in need.

“It’s very important. They wait on that hot, hot meal,” White said.

Hundreds volunteer for Wake County Meals on Wheels, but gas prices have made recruiting new volunteer drivers difficult.

“The new people will come but they don’t stay long because of the gas price,” White said.

White said she also builds friendships on her route. She said it would take a lot higher prices to stop her from hitting her route.

“There’s sometimes we drive and we are on ‘E’ (empty) taking them their meal, but they get their meal,” White said.

Across the country, nearly 60 percent of the estimated 5,000 programs that belong to the Meals on Wheels Association of America have lost volunteers who can't afford gas, said Enid A. Borden, president and CEO of the program that has been providing meals to Americans in need since 1954.

Nearly half the programs have eliminated routes or consolidated meal services. Some 38 percent have switched to delivering frozen rather than hot meals, while about 30 percent are cutting personal visits from five days a week to one.

"We're in a crisis and it's just getting worse and worse," Borden said.


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  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Jul 8, 2008

    I donate to Meals on Wheels on a monthly basis. Every little bit helps.

  • Wheelman Jul 8, 2008

    I for one am going to give them a cash donation which will help out with the food, and I am going to buy several gas gift cards that they can give to the volunteers. My family and business is working to deal with this on a personal basis, so like most of you I am limited on what I can do. But, a little bit from a lot of us will help. In many cases, these are the true forgotten in our society. I don't mean for this to sound bad, but so much is about "the children" that we overlook the elderly. So many of them are at the mercy of our kindness. They may not be our future, but they are the ones who worked and made the sacrifices in the past. Give them the respect and the care they have earned. One day we will be them. No one in this country...child or elderly should have to wish for a kind word, a place to sleep or food to eat. Please help!

  • lilbit278 Jul 8, 2008

    The Gov needs to take half of all the money spent on welfare and give it to The Meals On Wheels Program,put our tax dollars
    to good use.

  • whatelseisnew Jul 8, 2008

    Well the volunteer drivers can get a tax write-off on a per mile basis. Course the problem is you have to bear the expense of the driving until you can file taxes and take the write-off. If the Gov provided a no-strings Grant to this fine organization, that would be good. Otherwise I would hate to see the Government get involved with it and wreck it as they wreck most things.

  • Vietnam Vet Jul 8, 2008

    Y'know it seems our government funds every stupid thing that comes along so why can't they help out here with this?? This is something that I'd LIKE to see my tax dollars going for instead of some of the things that they spend my taxes on...

  • whatelseisnew Jul 8, 2008

    I will have to look into where to donate. There are many people that can not get out to get food, or are no longer able to prepare food. This service is of great value to them. The nice part about their meals, even the frozen ones, is they are nutritious and the correct serving amount. For those folks that pay for the meals, the cost is quite reasonable. It was 3.50 per meal. I imagine that price will have to rise.

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Jul 8, 2008

    Thats a shame. Meals on Wheels is a great program. I know it is tough econmic times for all but I hope the public responds to the fund raising and ups support for Meals.