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Board of Directors

Coordinator: Trish Blevins

Mobile Meals of Wenatchee

PO Box 1343

Wenatchee, Washington  98807-1343

 

Phone:  (509) 433-3166

Email:  mobilemealsofwenatchee@yahoo.com

 2019-2020

  Jim Anez - President                  Jane Drewelow - Vice President

  Mike Hammer - Treasurer         Jane Van Sickle - Secretary

Sue Anez - Corresponding Secretary

 Members

  Rich Boon                Roger Cook

Dave Keiser             Walter Newman

Ralph Redding             Bill Winter

 

© Mobile Meals of Wenatchee 2014-2020       PO box 1343        Wenatchee, WA 98807      Phone: (509) 433-3166

Mobile Meals History

In 1971 a VISTA volunteer, Sister Olive Mattison, who was in Wenatchee for just one year, conducted a survey on the needs of the elderly. She discovered that some senior citizens were not able to prepare hot, nourishing, meals for themselves and sometimes patients were discharged from the hospital before they were fully able to care for themselves.  

Sister Olive was aware of Meals on Wheels programs that assisted the elderly in other places and thought something like that might work in Wenatchee.  She reached out to the Chelan County Medical Auxiliary for local leadership and volunteers.  Carolyn Smith and Alice Stojowski were leaders in the Auxiliary and in a meeting at Alice’s home the plan for what Sister Olive called “Mobile Meals” took shape.  The Medical Auxiliary recruited a cadre of 60 volunteers who would deliver the meals and found a location where they could be prepared; and on October 29, 1971, Sister Olive wrote to the Chelan County Medical Society to explain the program and request $500.00 to start the program.  In her letter, Sister Olive described the project and business plan::






The Medical Society provided the funds, without delay, and Mobile Meals began operations on Monday, Nov 8, 1971 as a project of the Chelan County Medical Auxiliary.  Marie Fager was hired to coordinate the program, working 3 hours per day for $2.25 per hour. Carolyn Smith, Alice Stojowski, Barbara Hoxsey and numerous other volunteers sought additional donations from sources throughout the Wenatchee.  Sister Olive even contributed two months of her VISTA volunteer pay ($230.00) to keep the program afloat.  165 meals, about 10 per day, were delivered in November.

By March of 1972 meal volume had doubled and the program was becoming more than a subcommittee of the Medial Auxiliary could manage so it was decided that Mobile Meals should become an independent organization.  Sister Olive had filed paperwork with FOCUS (For Older Citizens United Service) and the Council on Aging to establish Mobile Meals as a separate entity under their non-profit umbrella.

The first recorded meeting on April 12, 1972 was a “FOCUS-Mobile Meals” meeting with Sister Olive, Marie Fager and Carolyn Smith presiding.  A board was established and following the meeting a letter was sent to all volunteer drivers requesting a $2.00 donation to repay Sister Olive.  She would be leaving Wenatchee at the end of May and the Board felt her $230.00 contribution should be considered a loan rather than a donation.  $220.00 was  collected from 50 people.

By the fall of 1972, as Mobile Meals approached the end of its first year, they were delivering about 450 meals per month, but they had only $89.10 in the bank and they owed St Anthony’s Hospital over $900 for meals already delivered.  The Board requested $850 from the Medical Society to pay off the hospital bill.  In an October 24, 1972 grant application to the Alcoa Foundation, Mobile Meals reported receiving $2,530.98 in donations from 22 commercial and religious groups in addition to the $854.11 bail-out from the Medical Society.  

Mobile Meals was an independent Board operating as a part of the Council on Aging and in 1973 they started receiving Federal matching funds though Title III.  As a result the official name of the organization became “Council on Aging – Mobile Meals”.

The Mobile Meals board felt they should expand the program to East Wenatchee but the kitchen at St. Anthony’s could only provide 28 meals per day, so the Highline Nursing Home in East Wenatchee was used to prepare between 3 and 7 meals a day for the east side of the river.  

By September 1973, as the 2-year anniversary approached, Mobile Meals drivers were delivering 28 meals each day in Wenatchee and between 1 and 3 meals a day in East Wenatchee.  In East Wenatchee meal count was low because, it was thought, the quality of the meals was so poor that no one wanted them.  So, beginning in October 1973, up to 15 meals a day were prepared at the Deaconess Hospital kitchen for delivery in East Wenatchee and south Wenatchee.  A community decision had been made during 1973 to merge Deaconess and St Anthony’s Hospitals. Since it was the smaller facility, St Anthony’s was sold to Deaconess in July 1974 and the facility was renamed Rosewood Hospital.  As a result of the merger, starting in October 1974, all meals for Mobile Meals, were prepared in the Deaconess Hospital kitchen.  This continue until 1978 when Deaconess closed and all operations merged in the Rosewood location which was renamed Central Washington Hospital.

During 1974, through the Council on Aging, Mobile Meals received Title VII Federal funding.  This paid overhead expenses and the cost of seven meals each day.  There were requirements that conflicted with the mission of Mobile Meals and the Council on Aging decided they would not include Mobile Meals in their Title VII budget for 1975.  Consequently November 1974 was the last month that Mobile Meals received Federal funding.  On December 1, 1974 Mobile Meals established itself as an independent, tax-exempt, non-profit organization, Mobile Meals of Wenatchee.


The motto of Mobile Meals has always been “A meal and a friend at the door each day” and during 1970s this was evident.

During the late 1970s Mobile Meals again explored the possibility of  Federal grants, but limitations, and strings attached with these funds, made them inaccessible.  Mobile Meals continued various fundraisers, and sought individual donations and non-governmental grants.  In 1979 they applied to become a member agency with United Way, receiving a $5,000.00 grant in 1980.  In the years that followed United Way became a significant source of funds, at times providing nearly 25% of the Mobile Meals budget.  Today Mobile Meals doesn’t rely on United Way to that extent, but still relies on the generosity of the Wenatchee Valley as local donations and grants make up about 40% of the annual budget.

Meal deliveries rose steadily through the 1980s and 1990s, exceeding 15,000 meals in 1992 then dropped to just over 10,000 meals in 2001.  By 2006, the 35th Anniversary of Mobile Meals, deliveries again exceeded 15,000.  Since that time meal deliveries have increased steadily, exceeding 21,000 in 2016 and approaching 23,000 in 2019.

In 2016 Mobile Meals was honored to be selected by the Follies Guild to receive a gift of $62,250.  This gift was given with the understanding that the funds would be used to establish an endowment, the proceeds of which would be available to sustain Mobile Meals into the future.  This is a fund that Mobile Meals would like to grow to the point that its proceeds will become a significant portion of our annual funding.


Mobile Meals has always operated with volunteer drivers to deliver meals and a volunteer Board of Directors to oversee finances, raise funds and set policy.  The need to recruit volunteer drivers has been a consistent problem and there is always a need.  


The only regular paid employee of Mobile Meals has been a part-time Coordinator (at times called the Executive Director) who is responsible for the daily operation of the program.  There have been eight Coordinators over the past 48 years:


1971 - 1974   Marie Fager           1974 - 1980   Adeline Kerkow       1980 - 1997   Celesta Hatfield       1997 - 1999   Lisa Rudolph

1999 - 2007   Sandy Morrison     2007 - 2009   Christy Walt             2009 - 2019   Sandy Briggs            2019 - present Trish Blevins

Prior to 2008, when a Coordinator went on vacation, or needed time off, a volunteer from the Board would fill in.  After Central Washington Hospital began to require that our Coordinator, and any regular Backup Coordinators, be cleared and trained to hospital standards, it was determined that the Backup Coordinator should be a Mobile Meals employee.  Since 2008, Backup Coordinators have been on the payroll as regular employees of Mobile Meals, woriking only when the Coordinator is away.  Backup Coordinators have included Patty Nirk, Jean Nelson and Suzi Pitts.



n the July 1974 newsletter it was reported that a volunteer driver gave a kitten to a recipient who lived alone.  Another cleaned house and washed curtains for recipient while a third washed the bedding for a recipient.

 Birthdays were tracked, and advertised in the monthly newsletters, so drivers could deliver birthday cards.  And in spring of 1975 the 8th grade Home Economics class at Pioneer Junior High baked mini birthday cakes to be given to recipients on their birthdays.  

 The Pioneer Junior High class also made 3 quilts which they asked Mobile Meals to pass on to deserving senior citizens.   

 At the Mobile Meals Annual Meeting on May 19, 1975 Clyde Ballard spoke to the assemble volunteers about how to handle an emergency if they find a recipient in distress.  

 In an August 31, 1975 article it is reported that drivers had discovered and “saved” three recipients to date.  One who had a broken hip, another who was in a diabetic coma and a third who had suffered a stroke.

 In the July 1975 newsletter drivers were encouraged to take fresh home-grown flowers or garden produce.

 In the November 1975 newsletter volunteers were asked to bring non-perishable foods to the quarterly meeting so these could be passed on to recipients.  The same newsletter encouraged drivers to “include our seniors in your baking plans”

 In November 1975 the Little Flower Blue Birds made favors for recipients.


During the late 1970s the Mobile Meals continued to explore ways to access Federal grants, but limitations and strings attached with these funds made them inaccessible.  They also continued to seek local funding and non-governmental grants and in 1979 applied to become a member agency with United Way, receiving a $5,000.00 grant in 1980.


During the late 1990s meals delivered had decreased to just over 10,000 meals in 2001, but by 2016, the 35th Anniversary, deliveries exceeded 15,000.


In 2016 Mobile Meals was honored to be selected by the Follies Guild to receive a gift of $62,250.  This gift was given with the understanding that the funds would be used to establish an endowment, the proceeds of which would be available to sustain Mobile Meals into the future.  This is a fund that Mobile Meals would like to grow to the point that its proceeds will become a significant portion of our annual funding.