Meals on Wheels has waiting list for first time in history - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Meals on Wheels has waiting list for first time in history

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For the first time in REAL Services' history, the Meals on Wheels program had to place people on a waiting list. Meals on Wheels provides food for the elderly and people with disabilities.  REAL Services' says the wait list was made because of the higher costs on food and the decrease of funding from all levels.

Director of Nutrition and Transportation for REAL Services George Hawthorne says most clients have been understanding after the organization explained why it is being done, but it doesn't make saying no any easier. "The people that are calling are in need, otherwise if they had family or other ways of being able to take care of it, they wouldn't call us," Hawthorne said. "It's very hard to turn somebody away understanding that they are calling only because they absolutely have to call." 

There are about 20 people on the waiting list as of Friday. Hawthorne says it will take about $75,000 to eliminate the wait list. He added that it is possible it could be more depending on how food prices are and if more people sign up for their service.

It costs five dollars for a person to get a meal. That five dollars covers everything from food cost, preparation, the cost of a dietician, and fuel costs. If an individual is able to pay this they, will not be put on a wait list and can start receiving meals since they are covering the total cost. It costs 1,250 dollars to provide a meal a day to an elderly or disabled person for a year. Meals on Wheels operates Monday through Friday. They will deliver a meal for Saturday and Sunday when they make their Friday delivery if those additional meals are asked for.

REAl Services has received, and is asking for, donations from local businesses, community members and anyone who would like to contribute. "Not only do we need money, but we also need volunteers," Hawthorne said. He says their dedication to deliver meals is any type of weather is truly special to see.  Most of the recipients for Meals on Wheels are St. Joe County residents, but REAL Services also makes trips to LaPorte and Michigan City.

Hawthorne says there is no timetable for when people will get off the wait list and start receiving meals.

If you would like to help, checks can be made payable to REAL Services, Inc. and mailed to 1151 S. Michigan St. South Bend, IN 46601. If you are interested in volunteering or want more information on Meals on Wheels visit their web site at www. realservices.org.

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