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UPS Foundation awards $5,000 grant for Meals-on-Wheels program

LifeCare Alliance is the proud recipient of a $5,000 grant from the UPS Foundation to upgrade technology for the Meals-on-Wheels program.

UPS employees graciously volunteered their time for LifeCare Alliance in 2018, helping to feed hungry seniors. UPS employees participate in the corporate “Adopt-a-Route” program by covering a Meals-on-Wheels route one day per week. Each meal route delivered by a volunteer instead of a paid driver saves the Agency $12,000 annually. LifeCare Alliance qualified to apply for this funding because of the considerable contributions of local UPS employees to the Agency.

Earlier this week, LifeCare Alliance welcomed UPS employees to our Harmon Avenue location. They volunteered their time to deliver three frozen meal routes and prepare meal bags in our distribution kitchen.

Over the course of 2018, 67 volunteers delivered 1,302 meals and accumulated 208 hours of service. In addition to the Meals-on-Wheels route coverage, another local UPS employee group visits Carrie’s Café quarterly for a meeting and lunch in the morning and volunteering in the afternoon. Some from that group work in the Meals-on-Wheels distribution kitchen to assist packing the meal bags with meals, beverages, fruit, and sides. Others in the group assisted with the Senior PetCare program, breaking down food into manageable five pound bags for delivery and distribution to clients with pets. This group of volunteers gave an additional 36 hours in 2018. Overall, the UPS associates volunteered over 240 hours of their time to LifeCare Alliance, and the Agency greatly appreciates their service to our clients. As a result of UPS employees’ donating their time in this way, LifeCare Alliance became eligible to apply for funding from the corporation’s charitable arm, the UPS Foundation. We are thrilled to partner with the foundation to make capital improvements in our Meals-on-Wheels program, which will allow for increased efficiency and effectiveness.

Meals-on-Wheels provides nourishing food and a daily visit to older adults and individuals living with a medical challenge and/or disability in central Ohio. The program delivers approximately 5,000 meals a day and provides meals for children in day care and after-school programs. Individuals in these vulnerable populations often face financial, physical, and support system barriers, which put them at risk for hunger, chronic health issues, and/or social isolation. The provision of home-delivered meals addresses these barriers by providing nutritious, delicious food and socialization to clients, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay for such services. In addition to healthy food access, these clients receive health and nutrition education and linkage to community resources and other LifeCare Alliance programs to ensure that their needs are met holistically. Examples of these include the Senior PetCare program, which delivers pet food to the homes of clients and provides veterinary care to pets in need, and the Beat the Heat Fan Campaign, which supplies box fans during the hot summer months.

The overarching goal of LifeCare Alliance’s health and nutrition programs is to keep clients safe and independent in the comfort of their own homes, where they ultimately want to remain as long as possible. AARP estimates that Ohio taxpayers fund nursing home care at an average annual cost of $78,840 per person (Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2017). By serving these same individuals at home for a fraction of that cost, the Agency saves taxpayers money while serving the community. When individuals receive the appropriate nutrition levels and health assessments, potentially debilitating and costly health outcomes are prevented and circumvented.

An increasing number of employees state that being able to give back to the community is a leading factor in choosing the company for which they will work; LifeCare Alliance offers this unique volunteer program for central Ohio employers to provide this opportunity to their employees. Volunteer engagement is one of the strategies LifeCare Alliance uses to increase its organizational and programmatic effectiveness. Volunteerism promotes relationship building, community engagement, and a healthy work-life balance for employees, while giving them the opportunity to give back. The Agency has emerged as a national leader in volunteer engagement, merger collaborations, and social entrepreneurship. Because of these efforts, LifeCare Alliance is one of few nonprofits in major metropolitan areas in the country still accepting qualified clients in need without a waiting list.

We salute UPS and the UPS Foundation for the generosity of their time in helping us Nourish the Human Spirit.

UPS employees volunteer with LifeCare Alliance’s Meals-on-Wheels program.

UPS employees load frozen meals for delivery to LifeCare Alliance Meals-on-Wheels clients.

UPS employees prepare delivery bags for LifeCare Alliance’s Meals-on-Wheels program.