UNION — A group of volunteers who bring meals, companionship and help to residents of the Buffalo and Union communities gathered recently to celebrate their efforts and contemplate the challenges they face in continuing to serve those in need.
On Thursday, April 14, the volunteers of Union County Meals on Wheels met to dine and socialize together during their annual luncheon at The Episocpal Church of the Nativity. The volunteers enjoyed lunch catered by Midway BBQ and there were drawings for prizes.
During the luncheon, Meals on Wheels Vice Chairman Kathy Stepp spoke, thanking her fellow volunteers for all their hard work and reviewing the history of the program, its achievements, and the challenges it faces going into the future.
Stepp began by pointing out that Union County Meals on Wheels “is an all-volunteer organization, 501,c-3 rated and certified by the State of South Carolina as a charity. We are dedicated to serving residents in Union and Buffalo. Our goal is to serve one hot meal a day, five days a week to needful personson who have applied and met our needs criteria. These residents are screened to determine need and approved on that basis. This program has been working fine for over 30 years with the help of donors from the community and grants petitioned from outside charity groups and business partnerships.”
During 2015, Stepp said Meals on Wheels “served 17,859 meals at a cost of more than $74,000. This was about $6,200 per month and predominantly covered the cost of the town area of Union. Ninety-nine percent of our budget went to procure meals, one percent for mailing/postage and no other overhead.”
As of April of this year, Stepp said Meals on Wheels is “delivering nearly 1,500 meals per month, costing about $5,900 per month. On our ten routes we serve about 75 people daily.”
Stepp added that the meals are prepared by the Union Medical Center at a cost of $3.59 per meal.
Even though the group has very little overhead beyond the cost of the meals it delivers, Stepp said that its yearly costs have still exceeded the funds it has received from private donations and/or raised through fundraising activities.
“Yearly costs of $74,800 exceeded receipts of $63,000 by $11,000 in spite of a few generous donors,” Stepp said of 2015. “In spite of our efforts to organize fundraising projects, we have also lost two significant sponsors and our efforts have not met that difference. To meet our goal of adding additional clients or developing another route or two, we need the confidence of support on the road forward.”
Stepp concluded by saying that the group will continue to work to raise the funds needed to cover its costs so that it can continue to serve the needy of Union and Buffalo. She urged the public to support Meals on Wheels, pointing out that many times not only do Meals on Wheels volunteers bring meals to needy persons, they are often the only people the clients they serve see during the day. Stepp said Meals on Wheels volunteer not only provide food but companionship to those on the routes they deliver. She said there have even been instances where Meals on Wheels volunteers have discovered clients on their routes who were ill and needed medical assistance and called in that assistance for them.
All in all, Stepp said, Meals on Wheels is about much more than just delivering meals, it is about serving the community, especially some of its most vulnerable and needy members.
For more information about Union County Meals on Wheels and/or to make a contribution in supports of its efforts, call 864-427-1598.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or email@example.com.