Local non-profit seeking holiday donations
By Katie Harris
For half a century Meals on Wheels has provided Loveland and Berthoud’s homebound population with hot, nutritious meals. This season the organization is asking for the community’s help to ensure each of its clients receive something special to brighten their holidays.
The local program, which became the first branch of the organization west of the Mississippi in 1968, serves roughly 350 clients in southern Larimer County, including over 40 in the Berthoud zip code. At up to one meal per day, per client, that’s close to 90,000 meals prepared and delivered per year.
“Our two primary qualifications are that people are homebound to some extent and over 60 years old, or under 60 with a disability,” said Jenny McKalko, administrative assistant at Meals on Wheels Loveland/Berthoud. “However, we try to help people as much as possible. We don’t want to scare people away who are having issues in their life that make it hard.”
The organization provides one chef-prepared, fresh and healthy meal per day to its clients, thanks in part to donations collected by clients on a sliding, income-based scale, and in part to sponsorships from the public.
“Our cost is $6.21 per meal, and we only get a portion of that amount from the state to cover that cost, so we rely heavily on our sponsors within the community to make up the difference,” said McKalko.
Another year-round need for the organization is volunteers. According to www.lovelandmealsonwheels.org, it takes approximately 16,000 volunteer hours to pack food and deliver it across the 28 routes in Loveland and Berthoud.
“We can always use volunteers and wouldn’t survive without them,” said McKalko. “We have a great base, but that is constantly morphing due to other commitments, and we can always use more help.”
In addition to monetary donations and volunteer manpower, the organization has a unique need this time of year – donations of gifts for its annual Santa for Seniors program.
Gifts dropped off at the Loveland location (437 Garfield Ave.) through Dec. 15 will be delivered the week before Christmas, and the organization’s goal is for every client to receive a holiday present.
“We can really use small pet beds, dog and cat toys, and pet sweaters for little dogs, to give to our many clients with little companion critters,” said McKalko. “We also need men’s and women’s flannel or fleece shirts and pajamas, as well as blankets, which go over really well with folks who don’t get out much.”
McKalko said snack and coffee gift sets, which are often readily available this time of year, also make popular gifts for clients.
Any monetary donations received specifically for the Santa for Seniors program will be used to purchase additional gifts, or added to the meal fund once all needed gifts have been purchased.
Anyone interested in making a monetary donation can mail a check to 437 Garfield Ave. Loveland, CO 80537 or donate online at www.lovelandmealsonwheels.org.
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