Meals on Wheels

| 19/09/2013

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. 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 do-able. 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 fundraising 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
  • Any pertinent info such as the 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.

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Comments (28)

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  1. Richard Wadd says:

    Please allow me to play "Devil's Advocate" here a minute.

    Of ALL of the worthy charities that exist, I personally can think of NONE that I would hold higher than feeding a person in need, with the exception of those charities that focus specifically on children.

    I am constantly amazed at how willing we are to give to the Humane Society (also a very worthy cause), yet we appear so reluctant to support a charity for the indigent among us. I think it says something about ourselves as a species, when we hold dogs and cats above the needs of our fellow man.

    Now don't get me wrong, for dogs and cats can certainly be more loving and deserving, however in my opinion, the 'pecking order' of our priorities is askew.

    However, as a society we have a serious 'ENTITLEMENT' issue, and this needs to change.

    This VERY WEALTHY and prosperous island, with the highest standard of living of any Caribbean and Latin American country, has become a haven for the lazy parasites among us, to the detriment of those citizens who TRULY need our assistance.

    The reason we NEED private funding for Meals on Wheels, is because Government has been too busy handing out our hard earned money to buy Votes through the Nation Building Fund and Social Services, instead of providing for it's needy citizens.

    With less than 30,000 Caymnians, why were over 8,000 people on Government Aid / assistance?

    Why do we have the children of families who live in million-dollar homes receiving scholarships from Government?

    Too many of our people have been getting a "free lunch", while those in NEED have paid the price for them.

    SHAME ON US !!

    From parents who contribute NOTHING towards their chldren's Education, not even lunch money (yet drive new cars and always sport the latest fashion and hair-do), to people getting 'Tax-breaks' to import Heavy Equipment for construction contracts, we are robbing the truly needy in order to feed the greedy among us.

    It is NOT the job of Government to support us as a nation, but it is thier responsibility to care for those truly in need of help.

    It is not the job of Government to give you a home, it is their responsibility to create OPPORTUNITIES so that we can become gainfully employed, self-sufficient and support our families OURSELVES.

    It is not for Government to build your mother a house and provide someone to take care of her. That is YOUR responsibility. IF however, you truly need assistance, then Government should have funding available for such programs and needs.

    I say to Government, STOP FUNDING THE GREEDY so we can care for the truly NEEDY.

    …. and PLEASE, give to and support Meals on Wheels.

    Many of those who benefit from MoW are from the very Generation that paved the way for the Prosperity that we enjoy today.

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      I could not agree with you more.  Everything you stated is a fact.  Howerver  I will add this statement to the mix.  I remember there was a lady receiving MOW.  I often wondered how did she qualify.  She had oodles of money in the bank and acres of land and after she passsed it was inherited by family members who sat by and watched her eat MOW food and did nothing about it.  Surely if any kind of research was done they would know that she really did not need it.  I can also understand why the meals were sent to her, because in Cayaman in the "good old days" that was the custom, especially on Sundays, Neighborhoods could be seen exchanging dishes of delicious foods.  Back then most of us really did not have much money, but somehow we always had food , especially for Sunday Dinner.  We always took care of each other- too badthose days are long gone.

  2. Kato says:

    Tara happy to donate and assist this worthy cause. However your article got me hiking a bit deeper, what if government passed a law that would levied a fee for every raffle that goes on? I am consistently being bombarded at the supermarkets and at work to purchase raffle tickets. In some instances I do not support the organizations that put on the raffle but being harassed very time I put foot in the supermarkets and hardware stores you feel compell to give your last $25 or $50 bucks. 

    If the government was to levied the fee on the amount earned and donate to charities then this would help resolve some of the issues of donations and quite frankly businesses can be profitable again.

    • Anonymous says:

      Although it's awesome that this is getting people thinking – I'm not sure it makes sense to 'tax' the charities selling raffle tickets or shaking cans at the supermarket – if you tax these charities to give to other charities surely you're just 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'?

    • Anonymous says:

      I've never been 'harassed' by these people. Just smile and say "no thanks". It's not difficult.

  3. Reluctant Z says:

    If I donate, how do I know my money is being used for what it was intended to be used for?

    • Intheknow says:

      Exactly my point. See my previous response to the article. The short answer is that you do not. Trust is a big thing in Cayman and recently it has been abused which is very sad.

      • Unison says:

        True, but do you know anyone who can live a life without trust?  There is a true saying, "faith without [good] works is dead."  Yes you will have the bad apples, but to get anywhere in life or to help another person, you need to have faith.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The money wasted on the seaman's fund could easily pay for this service.

    • Anonymous says:

      Money wasted on the Seamen's Fund?  How dare you!!!! Were it not for our seamen and the sacrifices they and their families made to build this country we would not be enjoying the quality of life that we do today. There are not many of these former 'iorn men left' and it is my opinion that anything given them they well deserve and have already earned. May Almighty God bless each one of them and give them long and healthy lives.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Tara. I totally agree with everything you wrote.

    At this point in my life, I do not have the time to volunteer and get involved with a charity, but I happily pass CI$ 25 here and there to some charities when I get the opportunity to donate easily via website, direct deposit etc. In fact, every good sized charity should have a bank account set up at the major banks so that people can make easy transfers via online banking. Surely the banks would be prepared to operate those accounts with no fee………..

    That said, I recently donated some funds for another charitable event and was quite impressed that after having made the donation via credit card, I received a letter via e-mail, confirming the receipt of the funds, thanks for for my donation and a query whether I want to be kept informed in regards to upcoming fund raisers etc. I think in this day and age it is crucial that people are made as comfortable as possible that the funds are actually being received and used properly. Clearly, some recent local headlines and the statistics worlwide in general show that a lot of donations are not used for what they were intended for, so it is understandable that people kind of lost faith. As such, it is important for charities to use local medias to regularly update the public in regards to their acomplishments, and provide some details of what the funds have been used for.

     

    • Anon says:

      I understand what you mean. Any cause to which the public donates cash or supports by buying tickets etc, should be required to publish financial records so that the. Public, who is financing those  efforts , knows where the money is going. Salaries should be stated separately from "administration" or "operating expenses".  I remember when it was  discovered that the CEO of a popular charity in the US was paid around $200,000 p.a. everyone was shocked.  

      I do believe that the local Meals on Wheels programme is a wonderful programme though, and when one looks at the numbers, it is obvious that there isn't a lot, if any, excess there.  Thanks to these wonderful, kind ladies who do this. I would be glad too if it was possible to donate to an account online.  

  6. Anon says:

    Brilliant, all around. Please, Ms Hopwood, send this to the telecommunication companies – just in  case they don't see this forum.   I would but I'm a bit technically challenged. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    Or the Government could enforce the maintenance Law so I would not have to take care of the parents of people whose kids drive new luxury cars, and the funds I give could be used for those who have no means of support.

    • Anonymous says:

      You have an excellent point. Currently I pay maintenance for my son. I don't see why paying for your parent(s) when they get old is wrong. They paid for you when you were in diapers. I wouldnt mind paying them each month a portion of my salary. Its really no hurt and I know alot of people can afford to do it.

      • Anonymous says:

         While I chose to be a parent, I did not choose to be born to my parents nor did I have any influence on how my parents developed.  If my parents are economic wastrels and I have succeeded despite them why should I bear legal responsibility for them?

        • Anon says:

          THEY GAVE YOU LIFE!!!

          • Anonymous says:

            Wasn't that Jesus and shouldn't he be feeding the hungry too?

             

          • Anonymous says:

            not by choice.  mine said that if there was birth control that she would never have had any children plus she abused and tried to kill a few of her children after they were born.

        • Alan Roffey says:

          Er……, because you love them?

        • Anonymous says:

          May what you say today come back and hit you a thousand times in your face. You ungrateful @$$. You are responsible by law and they should have a bigger fine then what they charge for dog abuse. 

        • Anonymous says:

          Because it is morally right and required by the Law. Put it another way, why should I have to support your parents (and you mine) if we can each afford to support our own. You not paying only requires Governemnt (the rest of us) to.

      • Anonymous says:

        Parents usually pay for you long after you're out of diapers. 

      • Anonymous says:

        What about the no good parents that don't care for their children and don't pay support.  Why should their children have to support them?

  8. Intheknow says:

    Tara Meals on Wheels was very successful a few years ago until things went askew. One of the problems surrounded accounting which concerned those involved in trying to raise funds. It is my understanding that there was no accountability. In other words no financial statements. Sponsors need to know the cost of the food, where it is distribute and if it is cost effective. My sources also tell me that there was considerable doubt about the financial hardship of some of the recipients. When a deliveryman finds a Mercedes Benz parked in the driveway in an upscale property one must doubt the integrity of the recipient.

    The Meals on Wheels is a worthy concept but it must be subject to accountability similarly to service clubs and charitable organizations. If Government is making contributions they must insist on accountability. Without it I fear local donors will go elsewhere with their resources.

    Their must be a proper board or advisory committee to take overall responsibility and clearly this is not taking place.

    No such thing as a free lunch.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Or if we had assistance from churches who collect money from thithes and the Nation Building Fund….

    • Anonymous says:

      I know for a fact that the church that I attend (which shall remain nameless) does participate in the Meals on Wheels programme.  I know also that many of the members in my church regularly distribute food baskets to the needy in our community on Sundays.  Sometimes this basket includes a Sunday supper. 

      Ever since I arrived in these Islands Meals on Wheels has been one of my go to charities.  I agree with the writer that there needs to be more accountability, however one of the biggest issues with wanting financial statements and other administrative stuff is that people want to get paid for doing these things.  None of the audit companies on Island can provide audit work as a charitable contribution.  The issue of accountability will no doubt arise. 

      I also agree that it would be good to ensure that it is those who are most deserving in our communities receive this benefit and I also agree with those that the maintenance law should be enforced.  We really should not have people having to rely on charities for a meal, at least not in this country. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for breaking down the numbers. It really is not a large amount for companies to donate for our elderly and infirm. Meals on Wheels is a tremendous program!