Camden Herald Letters to the Editor Aug. 22

Aug 22, 2019

Meals on Wheels faces funding crisis

For the first time in our 50-year history, we are at risk of falling short of serving everyone in need. Since 1969, MCH (Making Community Happen) Inc. has served seniors and adults with disabilities in Knox County with MCH Meals on Wheels, enabling and encouraging people to live independently in their own homes. MCH Inc. is a multi-service agency, owning and managing subsidized housing facilities for low-income seniors and disabled individuals and coordinating important support services for them.

MCH Inc. is a Meals on Wheels subcontractor for Spectrum Generations, the Central Maine Area Agency on Aging. Spectrum Generations is the regional organization responsible for managing federal funding providing comprehensive services for older adults. The funds are authorized by the Older Americans Act passed by Congress in 1965. Spectrum Generations provides MCH Meals on Wheels with an annual subsidy for a contracted number of meals. This federal subsidy covers about 34 percent of MCH’s costs to operate the service.

In 2018 MCH Meals on Wheels provided 26,342 home-delivered meals to eligible seniors and individuals with disabilities. MCH was able to raise $162,000 to cover the difference between the subsidy and its actual cost to meet the needs of the community.

Thanks to significant financial support from individuals, foundations, civic organizations, churches and local businesses, we were able to deliver this vital service without placing anyone on a waiting list and regardless of the recipients' ability to pay any of the $5 suggested donation amount. In fact, participant donations currently average 73 cents per meal, given the often extremely limited incomes of participants.

While the federal subsidy remains essentially the same, the demand for meals in Knox County has increased by 27 percent in 2019. MCH Meals on Wheels’ contract with Spectrum Generations runs through Sept. 30, but as of the end of July, we had already exceeded the number of meals. This means no funding is available for an anticipated 7,000 meals, leading to an additional shortfall of $20,000.

Generous financial support and a robust volunteer network provided by the people of Knox County have been the foundation of MCH Meals on Wheels' success in meeting the needs of seniors and disabled individuals.

For all of you who are in a position to consider a mid-year contribution to MCH Meals on Wheels to meet this unique challenge, we are grateful for your support. You can mail a check to MCH Meals on Wheels, 46 Summer St., Rockland, ME 04841 or make your contribution on-line at mchinc.org. Thank you.

Audrey Lovering

President, MCH Inc. Board of Directors

Elisabeth Schuh

MCH Inc. Executive Director

 

 

 

 

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