“Everybody is feeling the financial pinch right now, and we (Meals on Wheels) are no different,” said Sandy Warren, executive director for Meals on Wheels by Senior Outreach Services. “East County is our biggest rate of growth right now and we thought this would be a wonderful opportunity for both the program and the local business owners. It’s a great way to help.”
Now through the end of the month, residents in East County can help make a difference during the holidays by making a donation to the Meals on Wheels program through the countywide Dine Out for Meals campaign. Guests who dine at one of the many participating area restaurants can simply leave a donation for the Dine Out program at the establishment when they are finished dining.
According to Gary Noe, owner of Mac’s Old House in Antioch and one of the participants in the Dine Out for Meals program, customer donations have been abundant.
“I don’t know exactly how much we’ve collected but I’m seeing a lot of envelopes going out to the customers and coming back, so that’s nice,” said Noe, who added that his mother was a long-time recipient of the Meals on Wheels program. “I’m very happy to do this and hope we’re making a difference. It’s a wonderful program and something that’s close to my heart.”
Meals on Wheels of Contra Costa, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that relies primarily on contributions from individuals, the private sector and foundations to provide nearly 300,000 meals each year to the more than 1,200 homebound seniors throughout Contra Costa County. A donation of just $4 provides a hot meal for an elder, and a $120 guarantees a month’s worth of daily meals to someone in need.
Some 650 meals are delivered every Monday through Friday by volunteer drivers to low-income, frail or disabled clients over the age of 60 who are unable to cook or shop for themselves. The average age of a Meals client is between 75 and 84. The services provided by Meals volunteers include daily health and wellness checks and ongoing client monitoring, including in-home visits by outreach workers, all of which help seniors to live at home in safety, comfort and dignity.
It’s fundraising programs such as the Dine Out Meals campaign that helps the nonprofit group make ends meet. And so far, the response has been heartening. “It’s been very nice, from both the restaurant owners and their patrons,” said Warren. “The more people we can get to go the restaurants, the better for the owners, and the better for us as well. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Restaurants participating in East County include:
-Celia’s Mexican Restaurant, 523 W. 10th St.
-Denny’s, 4300 Lone Tree Way
-Mac’s Old House, 3100 E. 18th St.
-Uno’s Chicago Grill, 4827 Lone Tree Way
-Melo’s Pizza and Pasta, 6580 Lone Tree Way
-Perko’s Café and Grill, 1135 Second St.
-Black Bear Diner, 3201 Main St.
For more information or to view a list of participating restaurants throughout Contra Costa County, call Meals on Wheels at 925-937-8311, or visit www.dineoutnow.org.