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Meals on Wheels Awarded a $16,896 Subaru Share the Love Grant

Meals on Wheels of Lehigh County is proud to announce it has received a $16,896 grant from Meals on Wheels America for its participation in Subaru of America’s ninth annual Share the Love Event. During the event held from November 17, 2016 through January 3, 2016, Subaru of America, Inc. donated $250 for every new Subaru vehicle purchased or leased to the customer’s choice of participating charities, including Meals on Wheels America, of which Meals on Wheels of Lehigh County is a Member.

Michele Grasso, Director of Development and Communications, said: “This year we need to raise $650,000 to meet the need for home-delivered meals, friendly visits and well-being checks for 450 homebound seniors and adults with disabilities each weekday. We cannot thank Subaru of America enough for supporting our program and hundreds across the country so that we may meet our mission of helping our clients to live nourished lives in their own homes, where they want to be.”

Meals on Wheels of Lehigh County partnered with Ciocca Subaru during the 2016 holiday season to raise funds and awareness of senior isolation and hunger in Lehigh County. Subaru employees delivered meals and learned first-hand the importance of this service that helps people live independently in their own homes for as long as possible.

Executive Directors of Meals on Wheels Lehigh & Northampton on Proposed Federal Budget Cuts

From Meals on Wheels of Lehigh County Executive Director, Pamela S. Bechtel and Meals on Wheels of Northampton County Executive Director JoAnn Bergeron Nenow

The first budget blueprint to Congress has caused a great deal of concern and confusion. Many media outlets, for instance, incorrectly reported initially that the government was defunding Meals on Wheels programs.

 

We received a lot of unexpected attention as a result – and a lot of concern from the people we serve, our dedicated volunteers and the public at large. We need to separate fact from fiction so people understand the ramifications that proposed federal budget cuts could have.

 

Meals On Wheels is not a federal program and, thus, can’t be eliminated by any federal budget. Meals on Wheels is a proven public-private partnership that successfully improves the quality of life for our most vulnerable seniors and adults with disabilities. We ensure that our clients receive the nutrition they need to stay healthy and live in their homes for as long as possible.

 

Our Meals on Wheels programs in Northampton and Lehigh counties are independent nonprofit organizations and aren’t chapters of a national organization. This year, we must raise a combined total of $1.2 million to meet the needs of our community.

 

Our funding comes from a number of sources. Our programs depend on client payments that are on a sliding scale but don’t cover the cost of their meals. We also depend on government funding, which accounts for about one-fourth of funding for both of our agencies. This funding includes the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) program – a program that the budget blueprint would discontinue.

 

Over the past five years, we have received more than $280,000 in grant monies from our counties’ CDBG programs. These grants helped to purchase meals, commercial kitchen equipment as well as fresh produce from area farms through our Better Fresh Project, an initiative that incorporates locally grown fruits and vegetables into our clients’ daily meals.

 

Of greater concern is the proposed 17.9-percent cut in funding for the Department of Health and Human Services. The primary source of federal government funds for Meals on Wheels programs under the Older Americans’ Act (OAA) comes from this department.  Nationally, 35 percent of the total funding for Meals on Wheels (both for senior center meals and home-delivered programs) comes from OAA.

 

Details for if, or how, OAA will be impacted by the proposed budget have not yet been released, but any cuts to OAA will surely have an impact on Pennsylvania and our local Meals on Wheels programs.

 

Our state ranks fourth among all states in the percentage of people who are 65 and older. By 2030, Pennsylvania’s 60-and-older population is expected to be 29 percent of the population—approximately 4 million people.

 

Governor Wolf’s Bureau of Aging Director, Christine Miccio, told the House Aging and Adult Services Committee that, with more than 3.9 million Baby Boomers projected to become eligible for aging services in Pennsylvania by 2020, the department anticipates the demand for congregate and home delivered services to rise concurrently.

 

Here in the Lehigh Valley, we expect to serve 565,000 meals this year to our clients and to those whom we serve under meal contracts. We are serving 24 percent more meals than we did just four years ago.  Trends in our aging demographics show that the need for our program will continue to increase.

 

We have proudly served our community for more than 45 years and will do so for many more years to come. While we will continue to provide meal deliveries, friendly visits and other programs such as grocery shopping services, the proposed budget cuts, if enacted, will force us to find additional sources of private funding which will be challenging.

 

Congress will ultimately decide how funds will and won’t be allocated in the next budget, but a 17.9-percent cut in funding to the Department of Health and Human Services and the potential loss of CDBG funding are truly worrisome.

 

 

Donations to Meals on Wheels of Lehigh County Help Your Homebound Neighbors

When you donate to our program, you can rest assured that your money will be used for meals to a homebound senior or adult with a disability living in Lehigh County.

Meals on Wheels programs across the country are not chapters of a national organization. Although they may belong to Meals on Wheels America, which provides education and advocacy services, they operate independently.

Meals on Wheels of Lehigh County was founded in 1971 by a group of concerned local citizens who learned of an Allentown couple almost starving because they had no family to help them. Our founders never wanted this to happen again in Lehigh County.

About 23% of our budget comes from government funding. If this funding was cut, we would have to find additional money from our community or institute a waiting list for our program. Seniors can’t wait–so we depend upon our community for the majority of the $650,000 we need to raise this year.

Meals on Wheels Elects Executive Board and Members at Annual Meeting

At its Annual Meeting today, Meals on Wheels of Lehigh County Board members elected the Agency’s  2017 executive board:  President, Lisa A. Luciano, Lafayette Ambassador Bank; Vice-President, Brooke Griffiths, Lehigh Valley Health Network; Treasurer, Rosemary Lamaestra, RLB Accountants; and Secretary, Pamela Koons-Hartnett, St. Luke’s Health Network.

Kim Laurito, American Bank and Cindy Merritt, Buckno, Lisicky and Co. were reelected to serve two-year terms.  Pat Blahnick, Wells Fargo Bank, was elected to a six-year term.

The Board bid farewell to outgoing President and Board Member, Julie Profilet-Saucier, KCBA Architects, who has served the Agency for six years.

Meals on Wheels Receives a $5,000 Community Partnership Grant from the Lehigh Valley Foundation

Thank you to the Community Partnership Fund of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation for its $5,000 grant to subsidize meals for low-income clients.

This discretionary grantmaking by the Foundation during the 2016-17 grant cycle is supported by several funds that make up the Community Partnership.

2016 Blizzard Bag Blitz

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Thanks to the following companies, organizations and individuals for collecting food and/or donations so that volunteers from Selective Insurance and Olympus were able to pack 1,200 Blizzard Bags. These bags filled with a full day’s supply of shelf-stable food will be delivered to our clients to use when we can’t deliver due to bad weather.

Wacker Chemical
Computer Aid
Talen Energy
Meals on Wheels volunteers
Olympus
Rotary Club Allentown West
Buckno Lisicky & Co.
The Pidcock Company
WELCA of St John’s Lutheran Church
Elliot Group Engineered Solution
Junior Girl Scot Troop 6232
Hope Church–Bible School
UCC Greenawalds
Center for Vision Loss-Doug Yingling
Penn Treaty
St Luke’s Nursing Students
Buckeye Partners

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