DOWNEY - Downey Meals on Wheels (DMOW), which for 30 years has delivered meals to homebound Downey residents, is folding its tent after Aug. 13.The main reason, according to its president George Bridges, is "declining enrollment." "Downey Meals on Wheels was created to be able to pay for itself, but in the last three or four years our daily census has gone from a high of more than 60 [clients] to our current 25 or so customers," said Bridges, who is a psychologist by profession. The program has thus become unsustainable. "With expenses remaining the same," he said, "and the decreasing number of people being served, our reserves were running out, and it was hard to stay in business." Because of cost-benefit considerations of its own, meals supplier Human Services Association insisted on a minimum DMOW enrollment of 40 clients to justify any contract renewal. With DMOW unable to meet this condition, and no other viable options left, the decision to close shop was made. Final billing and notification of the program's closing went out to its remaining clients on July 27. That same day, three saddened clients called up Mary Brown, DMOW office manager for the past 21 years, understandably expressing their preference for DMOW over any would-be substitute provider. In any case, Bridges said DMOW will do all it can to assist its clients transition to the new situation (contract with other groups, etc., through HSA): "We don't want to leave them high and dry." "The seniors are unhappy, and I feel for them" said Brown. The Meals on Wheels Association of America, which is dedicated to providing meals to homebound seniors (60+), is said to be the oldest and largest national organization composed of and representing local, community-based senior nutrition programs in all 50 U.S. states, as well as the U.S. Territories. DMOW will be open until Sept. 15 and can be contacted at (562) 806-1815. For new/ongoing service, call Human Services Association (562: 806-5400).
********** Published: July 29, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 15