EASLEY – The people known for helping feed senior citizen shut-ins expect expanded opportunities to serve in the coming year.
Meta Bowers, executive director of the Meals on Wheels of Pickens County, say June is a “comfortable date” to expect opening of the organization’s own kitchen facility at the former Liberty Middle School.
The group is still raising money for rehabilitation of the building including providing access to the handicapped at bathrooms, improvements to the HVAC system and checking out the kitchen equipment.
Health regulations require a sealed environment and cracks around windows will need to be sealed at MOW’s new facility.
“We have the power turned on now, so we will be checking out the kitchen equipment to make sure it is working properly. They (the school) used it until they left,” Bowers said.
The renovation budget is $350,000, and MOW has slightly more than half of that now, Bowers said.
A $17,000 grant from Bi-LO/Winn-Dixie recently will fund a new computer system to advance fund raising and client information management.
With the new system, Bowers will be able to better track giving and potential donors targeting donors with specific opportunities to give.
As an example, she will be able to let specific donors who might want to give to the Adopt-A-Senior Network know about the opportunity. She will also be able to better track results of the various projects MOW offers. Being able to provide numbers about the success of a particular program helps her when the time arrives to write grants to help support those projects.
Grant writing has become more difficult in recent years, wife donations going to the most successful projects and in smaller quantities usually.
The Adopt-A-Senior Network encourages regular donations of $10 per month and up to fund meal costs for clients. $10 supplies two meals.
“The Network gives us regular income that we know is coming in,” Bowers said. “We have no regular, known source of income.”
A donation of $2,100 provides meals, delivery and safety checks to one person for a year.
The new facility will offer flexibility allowing for growth. Currently meals are contracted from a company and are delivered at 11 a.m.
“There are only so many people who can deliver meals at 11 a.m.,” Bowers said. “The kitchen will allow us maybe to do afternoon or evening deliveries, or seven-day service at least on a temporary basis is someone needs that.”
Currently MOW operates only on weekdays. Having its own kitchen will allow MOW more options in preparing specialty meals for people on restricted diets.
The extra space could allow storage of groceries and perhaps delivery of food items to some clients able to cook for themselves.