The Spokane Valley Rotary gave Valley Meals on Wheels a $10,000 donation this week, pushing the organization that provides low-cost meals to seniors closer to its fundraising goal.
Reaching that goal has become more important than ever now that Valley Meals on Wheels has been selected to provide meals for all senior meal sites and Meals on Wheels home delivery routes in Spokane County beginning Jan. 1. The organization will have to start providing its own meals beginning Monday. The previous meal provider, Aramark, canceled its contract after Mid-City Concerns in Spokane cut the number of meals it served after budget cuts.
This year Valley Meals on Wheels is sending out letters requesting donations instead of hosting its annual holiday ball. The Rotary donation has pushed the amount raised to $30,000 out of the $49,000 needed, said director Pam Almeida.
“They have given us $10,000 the last couple of years, so it was very nice to continue it,” she said.
Valley Rotary member Steve Florance said his organization is always happy to approve giving funds to Valley Meals. “The Hank Grinalds Trust is set up specifically to help seniors in Spokane Valley,” he said. “What better place to put the money?”
Regular donors have made donations, but the amounts are smaller than they used to be. Almeida said she’s not sure if her organization will be able to get all the money it needs, but she has faith in the community.
“I kind of have my doubts,” she said. “It’s been a hard year. Every year I don’t think we’ll make it and every year I’m surprised. I’m hopeful. I just have such a certainty it’s all going to work out.”
In addition to raising money, Almeida is also looking for commercial kitchen equipment. For now she will use a kitchen in Redeemer Lutheran Church to prepare meals, but once she takes over the entire county in January, a bigger kitchen will be needed.
Restaurant equipment company Bargreen Ellingson has arranged the donation of three warming ovens, a slicer and a convection/steam oven. “It’s a $28,000 piece of equipment,” Almeida said of the oven. “It’s a beginning. Our biggest need is a fire suppression hood. That’s expensive equipment and we haven’t found a donor yet.”
Almeida admits she hasn’t spent a lot of time looking for a bigger kitchen yet. “I’ve been focusing all my energy on making sure it’s going to happen this first week,” she said. “It’s amazing how many details there are in this project.”