Meals on Wheels needs donations to keep delivering - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Funding gap leaves Meals on Wheels in a jam

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - There are serious concerns about a funding gap in Eau Claire County because that funding puts food on the table for many senior citizens. 

A few months ago we told you about the impact the federal sequester had on the county's Meals on Wheels program.

At the time, Meals on Wheels started raising money and Tuesday, we checked in on those efforts.

Meals on Wheels is shifting into fundraising to close a gap in government funding, asking for $50,000.

"We're hoping to raise it by the end of 2014 at this point.  We're going to have to continue fundraising.  Every year our funding is more and more decreased," says Meals on Wheels volunteer coordinator Kaylynn Stahlbusch.

The Meals on Wheels program of Eau Claire County does need other funding, so it's turning to the community for support.  It started through efforts like this billboard on Clairemont Avenue."

"We have online donations now, which is the first time we've ever had that in this area.  Then we're sending letters out to all the area businesses, service organizations," says Stahlbusch.

Asking the communities they serve to either donate or ask their politicians to help restore some lost funding to this volunteer-driven program.

"If some tax dollars are involved, and I know some are, as well as contributions from folks that get the meals, I think that's a good expenditure of our tax dollars.  I'm happy to volunteer and be a part of that process," says volunteer driver Dave Lundberg.

Even though volunteers are a big part of Meals on Wheels, it's still a county program in Eau Claire, which poses a challenge raising funds.

"We've hit kind of a brick wall when it comes to receiving funding from organizations and businesses in the area because we are not a 501C3," says Stahlbusch.

Which means they're not recognized as a non-profit, which makes grants harder to come by and more red tape for businesses to donate.

"We definitely need community support at this point to continue the program in the fashion that we are," says Stahlbusch.

Because each year more people sign up.

"It's a really good program and certainly the elderly need the help, appreciate the help.  If some of them can stay in their homes as a result of Meals on Wheels than that's a good thing," says Lundberg.

Making raising funds a staple to keep this nutrition program rolling.

The aging and disability resource center has raised more than $2,000 so far in its goal to reach $50,000 by 2014.

The program has an online donation site here.

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