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March Update from Lark Rambo, Executive Director

Our volunteers have noticed their delivery bags are getting a bit heavier and that there are a few more stops on their delivery routes. We have seen an incredible increase in demand for our services over the past few months. Here are a few data points to put things in perspective:

  • Last October, we averaged 135 delivery meals each day - now we are regularly delivering 160 meals a day.

  • Last fall, we averaged 20 new clients each month - we had already welcomed 25 new clients in February before the month was over.

  • Our client retention over the past four months has averaged 89% vs. 80% in the four months prior.

  • The number of guests we serve in the Coal Creek Café has remained strong - typically serve an average of 45 meals each day.

Many of our new clients have come from increased referrals from our community partners, but we still get a lot of new clients that tell us they heard about us from a "friend" or "family member."

We have also seen a significant decrease in the amount our clients are able to contribute towards their meals. Currently, 30% of our clients are on "emergency funding," meaning they are unable to contribute anything towards the cost of their meals. The average contribution is now $2.46 per meal. It costs us $7.43 to produce each meal.

As costs continue to increase due to inflation, especially heating costs, we expect that our numbers will continue to increase. On March 1, the SNAP Program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called the Food Stamp Program) increase approved at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic expired. For most recipients, that increase amounted to an extra $95 monthly over the past three years, which they will no longer be receiving. The rental assistance program that was created at the start of the pandemic already ended last October.

During the month of March, we will celebrate March for Meals, a nationwide celebration of Meals on Wheels programs. We plan to use March for Meals to increase awareness of the incredible demand for services we have seen and to raise funds to subsidize the cost of meals for vulnerable members of our community. Please join us in spreading the word and give a gift to support a neighbor in need!

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