Meals on Wheels program faces budget cuts

Each morning, the Tanglewood Park kitchen fills with busy bodies cooking and packaging food for Meals on Wheels.
Krystle Wagner
Feb 20, 2013

From chicken to vegetables, workers stay busy preparing some of the 350,000 meals served each year for residents of three West Michigan counties, despite reduced state funding and a growing need.

The Meals on Wheels program for Ottawa, Muskegon and Oceana counties is administered by the Muskegon-based AgeWell Services. The nonprofit organization's executive director, Sharon TerHaar, said they are doing what it takes to prevent a waiting list from forming, although they have lost 32 percent of the program's funding — a nearly 20 percent drop since 2009.

AgeWell Services officials are discussing options to save money while maintaining their present services. TerHaar said they are looking for a long-term solution.

Meanwhile, the Meals on Wheels program has increased from 1,225 meals a day in 2010 to its current 1,625 a day.

“It’s getting harder and harder,” TerHaar said.

To qualify for the program, residents must be either age 60 or older, or be otherwise homebound, or have a nutritional or physical need.

While officials look for ways to continue providing the services, volunteers remain busy delivering meals to 5,000 people a year out of the kitchen at Tanglewood Park in Muskegon.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.
 

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billstacie

One can also donate to AgeWell Services/Meals on Wheels of Western Michigan by contacting their Development Director, Stacie Stevens-Venhuizen at stacie@agewellservices.org or at 231.733.8636 or make an online contribution by visiting our website at www.agewellservices.org and click "Donate Now."

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