Never Too Late March/April 2024

Aging in Our Community A Message from W. Mark Clark, President and CEO

to rising food, fuel, and wage expenses, unfortunately, necessitates a 30% reduction in the number of clients we can serve. Since we will not be removing any current Pima Meals on Wheels recipients from the program, we have started a waiting list, effective since January. We have halted all new entries into Pima Meals on Wheels and employing the waiting list for eligible clients until we reach the budgetary capacity goal for participation. With the current attrition rate, we anticipate getting to our capacity goal by this summer. Once there, we will employ a “One-off, One-on” client method to maintain the number of adults afforded by the revised budget. We understand the impact this will have on those we serve and are working with our partners to address these challenges while maintaining the essence of the program. Callers placed on the waiting list are provided with other community resources for their nutritional needs. Still, our entire service provider community faces diminishing resources due to rising operating costs. Your continued support is vital as we strive to adapt and overcome these obstacles to ensure that the Pima Meals on Wheels program remains available to every eligible home-bound older adult in Pima County. As we face these challenges, it is crucial to emphasize that the Pima Meals on Wheels program is not just about delivering meals but about sustaining the essence of community, ensuring that no older adult in Pima County goes hungry and feels isolated. The Pima Meals on Wheels delivery drivers, the unsung heroes of this

Dear PCOA Community, Today, I am reaching out with an urgent message that combines statistics with the heart of our community. PCOA has been the sponsor and administrator of the Pima Meals on Wheels program, a lifeline for countless home-bound older adults and those with disabilities in Pima County for nearly half a century. This invaluable initiative, supported by your generosity and with the assistance of our dedicated community partners - Catholic Community Services (CCS), Lutheran Social Services in the Southwest (LSSSW), and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, has been more than a meal delivery service; it is a pillar of nourishment and social connection. Behind each statistic is a story, a face, and a person who relies on this program for more than just a meal. However, I must share with you the challenges we face in the coming fiscal year. As we all navigated the difficulties of the pandemic, Meals on Wheels programs across the country experienced a surge in demand, amplifying its importance in the lives of those we serve. Pandemic funds were distributed to Meals on Wheels programs nationwide to help address this surge, but these funds will end this year. While the funds are ending, the number of adults eligible for home-delivered meals hasn’t diminished, causing significant budgetary constraints nationwide. Locally, the cessation of governmental pandemic funding for Pima Meals on Wheels will result in a reduction of over 25% of the current budget. This, compounded by a significant increase in operating costs due

program, do more than transport meals – they are often the only "welfare check" and source of social interaction some older adults have with the outside world. Imagine the impact of a nutritious meal delivered to the doorstep of someone who might otherwise struggle to prepare one for themselves. Picture the smiling face of a Pima Meals on Wheels driver (read about driver, Brenda, on page 5), providing food and a lifeline, a moment of connection that transcends the physical act of delivering a meal. For many of those we serve, this brief interaction is a lifeline, a reminder that they are seen, valued, and not alone. As we face these challenges, your support becomes more critical than ever. Your donation, regardless of size, maintains the Pima Meals on Wheels program's essential services. You can make a difference by donating online at, calling our office at (520) 790-0504 for a credit card donation over the phone, or using the remit slip on the following page to mail a check to PCOA. Your generosity fuels the community spirit, ensuring that the Pima Meals on Wheels program not only endures but thrives. Thank you for standing with us in this challenging moment and being the heart behind every meal delivered and every connection made.

W. Mark Clark President & CEO


March/April 2024, Never Too Late | Page 3

Pima Council on Aging

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