LifeCare Alliance received a welcome boost to its volunteer efforts during the United Way of Central Ohio’s Rally for Recovery Campaign.
During the week of Sept. 28, 2020, the UWCO awarded funds to local organizations to encourage new volunteers to complete a project that creates positive change within the community. LifeCare Alliance’s programs have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, so the Agency requested and was awarded a microgrant to help recruit volunteers to deliver Meals-on-Wheels.
Many of our neighbor seniors are still not able to go to the grocery store or are afraid to go out in public where they might encounter a crowd. In addition, those who normally have assistance from a family member or friend often cannot be visited during this time because of their particular vulnerability to COVID-19. As a result, since March 1, the demand for Meals-on-Wheels has increased by 65%. The Agency anticipates this need to continue, and will accept all those in need who qualify. By providing our nutritionally balanced meals to our senior and medically challenged neighbors, we will help keep them safe.
With public health concerns forcing the closure of congregate dining, senior centers, and senior daycare facilities, those who relied on these centers for their nutritional needs are turning to home-delivered meals to provide their nutrition. Many seniors and medically challenged individuals are unable to prepare and cook meals, and need a complete, ready to eat, home-delivered meal.
LifeCare Alliance used the award to purchase Speedway fuel gift cards to help defray the cost of gas during a volunteer’s Meals-on-Wheels shift. This was a great help in recruiting new volunteers as the Agency isn’t able to provide this perk to volunteers on a regular basis. The Agency is particularly appreciative of the funding from the United Way because it was able to offer a special thank you to Rally for Recovery volunteers.
As a result of this special funding and targeted recruitment, the Agency was able to attract 20 new volunteers during Rally for Recovery, including many from the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. These volunteers spent a total of 60 hours delivering 15 Meals-on-Wheels routes over the course of the Rally for Recovery week, distributing an estimated 250 meals to our senior clients! With their assistance, we were able to ensure that all routes were delivered and our seniors got the hot, nutritious meals they need.
The Agency plans to continue nurturing the relationships with these volunteers. With hope, many will be interested and available to become regular volunteers or even “adopt” a route. The Agency has the largest Adopt-A-Route program in the country (more than 100 companies participate), giving employees the opportunity to deliver Meals-on-Wheels during their lunch break. Each meal route delivered by a volunteer instead of a paid driver saves the Agency $12,000 annually.
Thanks so much to the United Way of Central Ohio for their commitment to volunteer recruitment!
-By Crystal Kurzen, Grants Manager, LifeCare Alliance