At a time when their services may be more important than ever before, Senior Nutrition Services and their operation of Meals on Wheels of Southwest Michigan have gotten a monetary boost from the Rotary Club of St. Joseph-Benton Harbor through the Rotary District 6360 Foundation.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rotary International Foundation allocated grant funding for distribution through Rotary District Foundations. As a result, the Rotary Club of St. Joseph-Benton Harbor applied for and was awarded $3,750 in funding for Senior Nutrition Services/Meals on Wheels.
Club President Matt Hanley says “Our club takes pride in caring for the people in our community. Supporting Senior Nutrition Services/Meals on Wheels of Southwest Michigan over the years has made a real impact for seniors in our area. We are thankful that the Rotary International Foundation, through the Rotary District 6360 Foundation, made available these Disaster Relief funds to support such an important local organization.”
Senior Nutrition Services/Meals on Wheels of Southwest Michigan have provided meals and more to local seniors for more than 30 years, dating back to 1988. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has experienced a tsunami of need and new requests. Prior to COVID, they normally would deliver 300 meals in a day. In the early weeks of the pandemic, they experienced a 66-percent increase. That equates to roughly 200 new meal recipients at a cost of $22,000 per month, at a minimum.
In Southwest Michigan, the organization is one of the very few home-bound meal programs that continues to deliver at pre-pandemic rates. Many other services moved to frozen or shelf stable meals and limited delivery services. Staff and volunteers continue to deliver meals and provide a small bit of normalcy for the seniors who have come to depend on them, not only for a nutritious meal but also for the daily check-in.
Rotary International is a network of 1.2 million members worldwide. Clubs are working to fight the pandemic in a number of ways through fundraising, volunteerism, and strategic projects. Rotary District 6360 covers 15 counties in Southwest Michigan.
In the photo accompanying this story on Moody on the Market, Rotary Club of St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Club President Matt Hanley makes the presentation to Senior Nutrition Services and Meals on Wheels Executive Director Linda Strohl.