Vancouver, WA — More than 400 business leaders and community supporters are gathering at the Vancouver Hilton this Wednesday as Meals on Wheels People hosts its annual Spring Luncheon, with doors opening at 11:30 am. Beginning at noon, the luncheon will be hosted by book author, Sandy Calwell, and features guest speaker, Mike Bacon.
The annual Clark County event is expected to earn $150,000 in necessary donations, said Meals on Wheels Marketing People Director, Julie Piper.
“It’s designed to be an enjoyable event to discuss what our program does, and for people to enjoy a nice lunch,” says Piper. “And, at the end of the hour, our goal is to raise $150,000, which comes from sponsored tables, corporations, and individuals.”
Calwell, author of “What if Parenting is the Most Important Job in the World,” has been a regular volunteer for the non-profit organization, whose local chapter provides 5,000 meals per day. All told, Meals on Wheels People has 400 volunteers across the three counties. She started her volunteer work by helping out in the kitchen at the Meals on Wheels Washougal center. Currently, she volunteers on the organization’s board, and helps with outreach and marketing.
“Meals on Wheels People covers three counties,” said Calwell. “The central kitchen is in Portland, on Multnomah Boulevard, with kitchens and centers throughout Clark County and Portland. The Spring Luncheon isn’t the main fundraiser, but it is very significant. Government cutbacks have made it so we’re very reliant on private fundraising, so this event is important.”
Each meal costs about $7, and seniors are asked to contribute $3-$4 per meal, but Calwell said a lot of seniors can’t even do that. The fundraising is designed to cover all the gaps. She added that several local businesses, such as Dave’s Killer Bread, donate food on a regular basis. Each day, volunteers prepare and deliver nutritious meals to shut-in seniors throughout the service area.
“We make sure all people that need to be served, get served,” added Calwell. “The seniors sometimes have no other options.”
Piper said they met their fundraising goal at last year’s luncheon, and expect to achieve it this year, as well.
“We’re really grateful for the community support we receive,” she said.
The event runs very efficiently, and features speakers, awards and updates on the organization’s progress.
Meals on Wheels was founded in 1969, and each chapter provides a very “person-to-person outreach,” said Calwell. “It all stays right here. It’s very important work.”
Locally, about 40 seniors are served in Washougal, with another 150 served out of their Firstenburg Center, in Vancouver.
To learn more, visit www.mealsonwheelspeople.org