New campaign spotlights COVID-19 response Eeforts and helps scale essential safety net for seniors
For Meals on Wheels America, the leadership organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger, COVID-19 required the need to quickly step up, fight and ultimately persevere. The network worked around the clock to restructure its normally high-touch service model to safely address the dramatic increase in demand – all in the name of protecting homebound seniors from the threat of the deadly pandemic. Through an outpouring of generosity to the Meals on Wheels COVID-19 Response Fund, the network delivered more than 19 million additional meals and served one million more seniors, along with the safety checks and social support needed to keep seniors safe at home; but the hard work continues.
Meals on Wheels America is launching its MAKE GOOD GO FURTHER™ campaign to showcase the heroic work of the network and its efforts to serve vulnerable seniors through the pandemic and in the years to come. The new campaign is primarily focused on social and digital media, with the release of a comprehensive COVID-19 Response Fund performance report. As part of the campaign efforts, Meals on Wheels America is also introducing the Go Further Fund, which will directly help scale the safety net for seniors by specifically supporting communities in crisis, building capacity and driving innovation in how the nation will tackle these issues head-on.
Even before COVID-19 emerged as a worldwide threat, nearly 10 million seniors in America struggled with hunger, 8 million seniors lived in isolation and more than 7 million seniors had incomes below the poverty line. Research conducted by the organization in April 2020 illuminated the harsh reality of America’s food security emergency in the face of the pandemic: 79% of Meals on Wheels programs reported that the demand for services had at least doubled, and some saw increases of over 900%. Even as we see some light at the end of the tunnel in regard to vaccinations, demand is still up 37% from pre-COVID-19 levels.
Meals on Wheels America launched its COVID-19 Response Fund in March of 2020, with generous support from corporate, foundation and individual donors. Through December 2020, the Fund sent over $31.3 million directly to local Meals on Wheels programs on the frontlines to help keep seniors fed and safe at home, while still connected to the community. However, there is still a lot more that needs to be done:
- 86% of programs believe they are not meeting the needs of their communities
- 29% would need to double home-delivery efforts to meet the need
- 74% worry they will lose financial support, but keep the clients they have added during the pandemic
- 62% would not be able to keep the clients they have added without continued financial support
“The support and success of our response allowed Meals on Wheels to make good go further beyond what we ever thought possible. With an even greater number of older adults experiencing food insecurity and loneliness, now is the time to truly amplify our efforts,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “By contributing to the Go Further Fund, you will directly bolster our ability to deliver Meals on Wheels services to all seniors in need across the country amid the pandemic, during recovery and well beyond.”
For more information about the campaign, and to learn how you can help Make Good Go Further today, tomorrow and in the years to come, please visit www.MealsOnWheelsAmerica.org/GoFurther.
Source: Meals on Wheels America