It’s easy to take for granted how much difference a meal can make. That impact is never more poignant than with the elderly, a surprising amount of which go hungry for physical or financial reasons.
As one of the largest in the nation, Meals on Wheels People delivers more than 5,000 meals to older adults (60 and above) daily – stacking up to nearly 1.2 million a year. Not once has there been a waiting list.
The logistics of that feat are astounding, but with a capable leader in CEO Suzanne Washington, the nonprofit is laying a strong foundation for what lies ahead.
“Part of our strategic planning has been how to diversify our funding and create sustainability,” says Washington. “We’ve consolidated some of our dining centers to put money into people, rather than buildings.”
Other entrepreneurial ventures include PDXPOP, an in-house popcorn company, and The Diner Vancouver, a public restaurant, whose proceeds go right back to feeding seniors.
“At the same time, we’ve also beefed up benefits for our employees - wages, support, training, job development and a wellness program,” says Washington.
The organization serves around 16,000 hungry individuals in Multnomah, Washington and Clark counties and volunteers are always welcome.