May 20 Annual Fundraiser Will Help Charity Meet Expenses
The dozens of dedicated volunteers at Meals on Wheels in Greater New Brunswick made thousands of deliveries to seniors who struggle to get out of their homes through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
And, as cases continue to remain low across the state, the charity is planning to resume its daily doorstep deliveries of one hot meal and one cold meal this summer.
All of this comes as Meals on Wheels continues to settle into its new location at 94 Church St..
The nonprofit that has been helping those in need in New Brunswick, Highland Park and a small part of North Brunswick since 1973 is in need of some help.
Funds raised at the upcoming Meals on Wheels annual dinner celebration at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick at 2 Albany St. on Friday, May 20 will help the charity meet the expenses not covered by a flow-through grant administered by Middlesex County.
A tax-deductible donation will not only pay the costs of the buffet dinner that includes samplings of wines and craft beers until 9 p.m., but it will subsidize lunches and dinners for seniors in need.
As Meals on Wheels president Harriet Worobey puts it, “This is a way to dine out so our seniors can dine in.”
Meals on Wheels in Greater New Brunswick serves those 60 and over, but it does not have an income restriction and does not do a financial background check. About 70% of its clients are at or below the poverty level.
The food delivered by Meals on Wheels twice a week is Godsend for some 70 area seniors, but so is the personal connections between senior and volunteers.
“One of our slogans is ‘More Than a Meal’ and hopefully we’re going back to that because we haven’t been able to do as much personal contact, of course, during the pandemic,” Worobey said. “I’ve delivered a lot and I will always say, ‘Do eyou want me to come in and put this food in the kitchen for you?’ And then we might chant, you know, ‘So how are things going? How is everything?’”
While the intention is to provide a little conversation and company, it can literally be life-saving.
Worobey said that one volunteer a few years dropped off food for a senior on a Friday. On Monday, he noticed newspapers piled by the front door. When he knocked on the door, no one answered. Out of an abundance of caution, he initiated a wellness check. Authorities entered the apartment and discovered that the woman had fallen and become wedged between the toilet and the bathtub.
“Who knows what would have happened if they didn’t initiate that wellness check,” she said.
Despite having just one full-time employee –Executive Director Shareka Fitz – Meals on Wheels in Greater New Brunswick has continued to look for new ways to serve the community. It has forged a partnership with REPLENISH, the Middlesex County food and basic needs resource, to provide city seniors with pantry-stocking foods and other items during the pandemic. It also collects fresh produce from Rutgers’ Farmers Market.
Meals on Wheels has also launched a pilot program that provides handicapped clients under 60 years old with meals.
Meals on Wheels will be ending its longtime partnership with Elijah’s Promise. Starting this summer, Meals on Wheels will be distributing food made by a new kitchen in Franklin, which is manned by a graduate of Elijah’s Promise’s culinary school program.
For more information about the fundraiser on Friday, May 20 from 6:30-10 p.m., log on to mowgnb.org or call 732-249-3488.
By: Chuck O'Donnell
Photo Credit: Meals on Wheels