Gifts sought to match $25,000 for senior meals
Island Insurance officials hope their donation will inspire others to donate
A large private donation, if matched by additional donations, could allow 30 more senior citizens to continue to receive meal services from the Lanakila Meals on Wheels program, but more than a hundred seniors are still in danger of losing their daily meals.
Island Insurance Foundation donated a dollar-for-dollar matching grant of $25,000 to the Meals on Wheels program on Friday.
How to help
Donations to Meals on Wheels can be made by mail to 1809 Bachelot St., Honolulu, HI 96817; by phone at 531-0555; or through the organization's Web site at www.lanakilahawaii.org.
"We're hoping that the publicity around our grant will get other people to step forward and help Lanakila," said Colbert Matsumoto, Island Insurance Foundation president. "We hate to see them not be able to continue their mission because of a shortfall in funding."
The meal program is facing a budget shortfall of $350,000 in next fiscal year, which begins next Sunday. The shortfall, from government funding cuts and increased expenses, means 233 homebound senior citizens could be cut from the program.
Island Insurance's grant, if matched completely, will keep 30 more seniors in the meal service program until June 30 of next year.
"We're hopeful that the community will give support. Without that support, then we won't receive the match. ... We still have a long way to go," said Marlena Willette, Lanakila marketing manager.
The Lanakila Meals on Wheels program currently serves 727 seniors on Oahu who are 60 years or older with a disability that prevents them from cooking or shopping. It provides seniors with a meal in their home, counseling, referral services to other senior programs, and communication with volunteers. Priority is given to those with incomes below $1,000 a month, who live alone and have serious medical conditions.
"Lanakila is honored and privileged to accept Island Insurance Foundation's generous matching grant," said Marian Tsuji, Lanakila president and chief executive officer, in a news release.
The program has already received another $30,000 in donations after recent news stories about the budget shortfall, enabling services to about 20 seniors. But 173 seniors remain in danger of being cut from the program.
In addition to those who may lose service, 269 seniors are waiting for meal service. An additional $450,000 is needed to clear that waiting list.
Willette said Meals on Wheels helps the community by "preventing premature institutionalization (of seniors) that costs a lot more for government and taxpayers in the long run."
So far, several donations have come from relatives on the mainland and senior citizens. Students at Heald College held a variety show and silent auction on Friday to raise funds for the organization.