How we can help Meals on Wheels

Recently the local press highlighted the very serious plight affecting the future of Meals on Wheels here in Grand Cayman – essentially there will be no future unless funding can be found.

Although, I’m not personally involved with Meals on Wheels, the recent coverage got me thinking and when you look at the figures as a whole it initially seems a little daunting from a fundraising perspective but, when you break the figures down, it’s really a paltry amount, given what Meals and Wheels can accomplish with this amount.

Total annual funding needed – approximately CI$200,000 for 165 people to be fed – this breaks down further as follows:

To feed 1 person it costs:-

CI$1,212 per year

CI$303 per quarter

CI$101 per month

CI$23 per week

And to further break it down, CI$4 is the exact cost of each meal.

If we had 165 companies willing to donate $1,212 per annum to sponsor an individual, we’d have our funding. Alternatively, if we had 660 companies willing to donate just over $300 per year, this would cover the funding and so on.

When you consider the above – this is certainly doable – yes, there are many needs here in Cayman and this may be just one of many but we absolutely cannot ignore the elderly and the infirm. What does that say about us as a society? Let’s not go there!

As for the administrative aspect of this, one of the problems for some of our charities, and Meals and Wheels is no exception, is that it isn’t all that easy to donate, i.e., there is no website and the Facebook page is not maintained and therefore not up to date and there is just a phone number and a cell phone in order to contact these lovely and generous people doing all this work.

In my experience, many generous and charitably minded people have a passion for what they do but not necessarily the time to think about the administrative and fund raising side of things. I have found that in order to encourage people to give, it is vital that you make it incredibly easy for them to do so. Not to cause offense, I know there are many people out there who will go out of their way to find a worthy cause to support but there are equally many people out there who are happy to give and, when presented with an opportunity, do give generously but perhaps don’t have the time to track people down in order to do so.

Which brings me to my next point. We have many technologically savvy companies and individuals out there; perhaps there is someone who would like to donate (and perhaps even maintain/operate) a website for Meals on Wheels. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it simply needs to include the following: Who they are and what they do; contact details; pertinent information, such as latest developments/statistics; confirmation of number of people in the program; where; and, if appropriate, testimonials from some of those in the program and from some of the volunteers who cook and deliver and visit with these people in need.

Most importantly, the website should include a way to donate with the click of a button or, at the very least, the account name/details where people can make a transfer or deposit a cheque.

Another idea for one of our telecommunications companies (or both) – can they not add a ‘Donate to Meals on Wheels’ button on the top-up machines around the island where people can feed in cash to donate at these machines and the telecommunications companies can then make a monthly or quarterly payment to Meals on Wheels. Given each person can be fed for CI$4 per meal, this has got to be viable as a way to raise these much needed funds.

So I simply wanted to throw this out there and hope this generates some healthy donations and, equally, some productive discussions as to how we as a society might come together in order to ensure the future of Meals on Wheels here in Cayman.

Please support Meals on Wheels and, of course, give thanks for the work that these dedicated volunteers do every day to improve the quality of the lives of these 165 people.

Tara Hopwood