Guest Column: Does community really care?

Column by Lizabeth Andrew
President, Coweta Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels of Coweta (MOWOC) is a non-profit organization that must depend on grants, donations and fundraisers to serve meals to older persons who, because of illness or disability, are not able to prepare meals for themselves.
Unfortunately, many Coweta citizens mistakenly believe that Meals on Wheels of Coweta receives financial help from Coweta County and/or the State of Georgia. Please know that MOWOC receives no financial support from any city, county or state government.
Meal’s mission is to help older adults remain healthy and safe in their own homes for as long as possible by providing nutritious meals, performing simple home repairs and making friendly visits to show older persons their community still cares. But does their community really care?
Lack of funding has forced MOWOC’s Board of Directors to cut meal services. Effective Oct. 15, Meals on Wheels of Coweta will be able to serve only 40 clients, 20 fewer than the 60 clients served during the last year. Meal service will continue five days per week for these 40 clients for the present, but another cut in services will be inevitable if funding does not increase.
The steady decline in United Way funding along with decreases in donations and fundraising income have forced Meals on Wheels to implement these changes.
The response to the $7 in 7 Days Challenge In July was much appreciated but yielded only enough in donations to cover the cost of meals for five weeks. Not surprisingly, the demand for meals services steadily grows. Today the organization’s waiting list contains the names of 30 older persons who may never get the help they need.

The MOWOC Board of Directors sincerely thanks all the donors who regularly open their hearts and wallets to help Meals on Wheels of Coweta improve the lives of elder Coweta citizens, and we pray the generosity and support of these donors continues. Since MOWOC’s home delivered meals program cannot survive without donors, we are pleading for more individuals, businesses and churches to join our donor ranks.

Before you dismiss this as just another sad story that doesn’t affect you or your family, consider the financial impact when community services like Meals on Wheels are no longer available. Meals on Wheels of Coweta purchases meals from Piedmont-Newnan Hospital.

The cost of meals for one person for one year is $822, which is a real bargain when compared to the cost of nursing home care for one year. In Georgia, the average annual cost of nursing home care per person is more than $51,000. Since your tax dollars help pay the cost of Medicaid nursing home care, it is in your financial interest to support community services like Meals on Wheels. And what dollar value do we place on quality of life? No matter our age, we are always happier and more content in our own homes. We don’t forfeit our right to compassionate or humane treatment just because we grow old.

Georgia is one of the 10 states in the U.S. with the highest incidence of elder hunger. Why is elder hunger, like many other deprivations faced by older adults, something we dismiss so easily in this country, this state, and this county? How can we disregard the hunger felt by our elder neighbors who are too frail or ill to prepare meals for themselves? How hungry and afraid will you be when you are old? Who will care enough to help you?

Please fight elder hunger in our county by donating to Meals on Wheels of Coweta. Check out our website — — for details on how you can donate by credit card, PayPal or check. All donations are tax deductible.

You can also support Meals on Wheels of Coweta by attending the Music for Meals Benefit Concert at the Alamo on Dec. 8. The doors open at 4 p.m. The music starts at 5 p.m. Barry Richman is the headlining act. Come enjoy five great bands, great food and great door prizes for a great cause. See our website for more details.

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