Organization Name: Spectrum Generations

Program Name: Meals on Wheels

Program Contact: Karen Wiswell, Director of Nutrition & Center Operations
Email:     Phone: (207) 620-1653

UWMM has funded this program for 17 years.

Amount Requested: $18000
Is this an increase from what your program received for the current funding cycle? 

Received: $14000 Requesting increase because:Our request of $18,000 is the same amount requested to UWMM during the last funding cycle. Our Meals on Wheels waitlist is always growing, and funding received has not kept up with the growing demand.

Twenty-five word summary of this program’s purpose:

Our Meals on Wheels program delivers nutritiously complete meals along with in-home safety and wellness checks to homebound older and/or disabled adults.

How your program is uniquely important to the community:

Meals on Wheels is the only program that delivers nutritiously complete meals that include 1/3 of the Recommended Daily Allowance to homebound older and/or disabled adults. The program administers eligibility assessments and provides safety and wellness checks to homebound individuals who often have no other support system to turn to.  Our dependable, caring volunteer drivers become a much-needed link to the outside world – and work with the homebound individuals and Spectrum Generations’ staff to refer and provide other services when the consumer agrees.  Some of these referrals and services include: Home heating assistance, in-home help, home repairs, and other nutrition resources.

Program Updates

Since last report (or in past two years):

Since our last report – the 18-month report sent to UWMM in February of this year (2019) – we have had two major changes that will impact our Meals on Wheels program:

  • On March 21, 2019 our Board of Directors released funds from the agency’s unrestricted accounts to address a portion of our Meals on Wheels waitlist. These funds will feed approximately 60 of the 275 people waiting across our agency for the remaining 6 months of our fiscal year.  This will directly impact some of the people waiting for meals in the Mid-Maine area.
  • We have hired and filled our vacant Human Resources Director role. This position supervises and supports our agency volunteer coordinator along with our program staff; our volunteer program continues to be one of our agency FY19 Strategic Priorities – with the goal to create a sustainable Volunteer Recruitment and Management Plan.  Volunteer recruitment and retention is a key component of having a successful Meals on Wheels program.  Additional work has been completed recently, such as the development of position descriptions for each of our Meals on Wheels’ volunteer positions.

Expected in the coming year:

There are no expected changes, and we are always working towards increasing community donations, grant dollars, program awareness, and advocating for support that will help us meet the need that community members have for our program – such as the current LD 472 – a bill that would give financial support to Meals on Wheels programs within Maine.

Outcome your program most contributes to:
Health: All individuals in Mid-Maine are in safe and healthy environments with access to health supports and services.

How program contributes:
Provides a direct service in behavioral and/or physical health areas, Increases access/reduces barriers to direct services, Increases capacity/resources for direct services, Advocates for behavioral and/or physical health, Collaborates with other programs/services in behavioral and/or physical health

Define your year: Most recent completed year: October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2018; Current year: October 1, 2018 – September 30, 2019

How much did we do? 589 (Total number served)

How well did we do it?

Performance measure: Percent of clients rating quality of services as good or better
Most recent year’s data: 98%
Previous year’s data: 93%

What was the difference made?

Performance measure: Percent of clients whose basic needs are met
Most recent year’s data: 100%
Previous year’s data: 100%

Action Plan

Objectives for current year:

Nutrition Education – to deliver nutrition education to our homebound Meals on Wheels recipients quarterly.  The nutrition education includes topics such as: Food Safety, Healthy Eating Tips for People 65 and over, and/or Do You Drink Enough Water?

Volunteer Retention – to provide pre-screening interviews, background checks, and agency orientation and program specific training in an organized, welcoming manner to all Meals on Wheels program volunteers.

Meals on Wheels program community awareness – to bring awareness and advocacy for the program and the need that is within our community.   

Objectives and results from last year:Success Stories

We share the following two stories from consumers about the Meals on Wheels program in Mid-Maine:

Consumer #1:

“The Meals on Wheels program has helped me stay at home with my fur-babies. I had surgery and was supposed to go into a rehab center, but I did not want to do that; I wanted to be home. I heard about the Meals on Wheels program and called; I was able to receive meals because of the surgery on my back. The surgery meant I wasn’t, and still can’t, stand for too long; sitting in front of a stove isn’t a good idea because you can burn yourself, or not see what you’re doing as well. These meals also help me financially because everything costs so much now, like the gas to go to the store and the food items. The food from Meals on Wheels gives me a balance of the things I need; I never made sure I had all the right items before, but now I know that my health is better because I’m getting all the things I need and in the right quantities. For example I get enough milk to last me to the next delivery, and the right amount of desserts help limit my sweet intake.

I get help with food for my animals, too, and that makes things easier; it makes me and them happy because they don’t have to go without and they get healthy nutrients too. The dogs look forward to the food, like the small treats, and enjoy seeing the drivers. I can keep my dogs with me because of this program; knowing that they have some food coming in is a peace of mind so I don’t have to worry or try and give them my table scraps.

The drivers are also great; the volunteer driver that I currently have is amazing. She’s always friendly and willing to talk if needed. She will help get my mail and make sure things are cleared and safe for me to be at home, especially in the wintertime. She pays attention, listens to my concerns, and will pass the information to the right person; she takes the time to acknowledge my dogs, learn their names, and bring them treats. The dogs have gotten so used to my driver that they know when she is coming; they will go to the door and ring the bell and let me know it’s time. The schedule is good and helpful for me; if it’s bad weather they always contact me to let me know if they can’t make it, which is good because I don’t want anyone to get hurt. I send prayers and give thanks every night for the drivers and this program. It’s very nice to know that I don’t have to worry whether or not I’m going to have food on my table.”

Consumer #2:

“As a vegetarian, this service has helped me tremendously. Before I heard from my doctors about this program, I was unsure of where my next meal was going to come from. The wintertime is hard for all of us, but I’m a homebound man with a dog and cats, who is unable to work anymore due to my current health conditions. Knowing that twice a week, I get to open my home to my two wonderful drivers is an amazing comfort. The drivers (every week unless it’s a snow day) come to my home and they will listen to me talk about my animals, or how bad the weather has been; they will even help me unpack my meals and if there’s an issue they take notes and address it through the proper channels so that my nutritional needs are met. This is a great feeling, and knowing that I am respected by them is nice and I couldn’t ask for anyone kinder or more considerate and respectful. I welcome these individuals always in my home and look forward to our weekly conversations.

As a vegetarian, I enjoy the efforts that the organization has made to accommodate my meals and look forward to seeing what they are. Before I got Meals on Wheels, I was feeling alone and uncertain week-to-week if I was going to be able to feed myself, or my animals. When the drivers told me about the AniMeals program, I was excited for it. My pets’ food is just as important as making sure I have enough to eat and knowing that they will have food coming in helps relieve the financial burden of taking care of them; they enjoy seeing and socializing with the drivers as well.

I offer my thanks and great appreciation for everything that Meals on Wheels has done and continues to do for me and everyone else. I am looking forward to continuing my relationship with the services that Meals on Wheels provides.”

Previous Year Actual Income and Expenditures

Government Funding UWMM Funding Other UWs Funding Fees/Dues Funding Other Sources Funding Total Income
515612 14000 0 0 118040 647652

Total Actual Expenditures: $667074.00

Current Year Budgeted Income and Expenditures

Government Funding UWMM Funding Other UWs Funding Fees/Dues Funding Other Sources Funding Total Income
515612 18000 0 0 124000 657612

Total Budgeted Expenditures: $657612.00

Anything remarkable about your program’s budget:

We do receive United Way funding that supports the other areas that we serve: United Way of Kennebec Valley, United Way of Eastern Maine, and United Way of Mid-Coast Maine.

What else you’d like reviewers to know:

The need for Meals on Wheels within the UWMM catchment area is an enormous community-wide need.  The need for food is a basic need – when people are hungry, they will become emotionally and physically stressed.  The program is essential to our older and/or disabled neighbors who are homebound and oftentimes isolated.  

Currently, Spectrum Generations prepares meals in two commercial kitchens for the six counties we serve in Maine.  We are the only Area Agency on Aging in Maine that owns its own kitchens and prepares all our own meals. Many other programs purchase frozen meals and pass them along to consumers.  Preparing our own food enables us to incorporate fresh Maine food and have the lowest food costs in the state, coming in well below the national average meal cost.

The UWMM area has 46% of those consumers receiving meals prepared by Spectrum Generations; 44% of those individuals waiting across the agency (on our waitlist) are also in this area. The funding received does not come close to meeting the actual need.

Please consider fully funding our request to help us raise awareness and meet the needs of our homebound older and/or disabled neighbors. We are happy to answer any questions or discuss our program’s alignment with United Way of Mid-Maine’s campaign efforts and community initiatives.  We are looking forward to our first official UWMM site visit to showcase the great work our organization does.


Back to your list


Return to your dashboard