Meals on Wheels & More Reaches Out for Donations Through Local Media

Community Support the Backbone of Meals On Wheels & More
David Juarez loads a care package for weekly meal delivery

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect people and businesses across the state and across the world, the Partnership’s Meals on Wheels & More program has again teamed up with the Decatur Daily for its February fundraising campaign.

Each year, the Decatur Daily accepts donations for the Meals on Wheels & More program in an effort to garner community support and help provide the supplemental funding needed to keep the program in operation. Unlike other Meals on Wheels & More programs, the Partnership’s program is not funded annually by the national Meals on Wheels America organization. Meals on Wheels & More relies on donations from the public to stay operational. While local governments do provide some funding for the program, the majority of funding comes from private donations and United Way of Morgan County, which is also driven by donations.

Due to the pandemic that began in the spring of last year, Meals on Wheels & More has had to adjust its operations to be able to continue to serve nearly 300 homebound elderly and disabled meal recipients in Morgan County. Instead of a hot, nutritious meal delivered to the door of each recipient every weekday, the program has had to adjust its schedule to deliveries only on Wednesdays. Those deliveries include a hot meal plus a weekly care package with items that recipients can easily prepare for themselves for the rest of the week.

With a continuing decline in revenue, and a budget now at almost 10% below that of 2018, increased donations are critical to keep the number local residents being served at its current level. Because of COVID-19, the number of meal recipients served fell more than 15% from 300 t0 254. Additionally, volunteers have dropped from more than 50 volunteers per month to less than 20 since most of the volunteers are in the high-risk categories for contracting coronavirus. Without monetary donations, the number of recipients may fall even further, leaving vulnerable populations on the waiting list for the meal delivery service.

Meals on Wheels & More is asking for the community’s support by donating to the program through the Decatur Daily by making a contribution at the Decatur Daily office, or they can be mailed to Meals on Wheels, c/o The Decatur Daily, P.O. Box 2213, Decatur AL 35609-2213.

The Decatur Daily will accept financial contributions for Meals on Wheels in February and publish the names of donors who wish to be recognized.

Checks should be made out to Meals on Wheels. Donors are asked to specify who should be placed on the list of contributors The Daily publishes or indicate that it should be labeled as an anonymous gift. The check signer will be listed if there are no instructions.

Anyone interested in volunteering for Meals on Wheels & More can contact Kitchen Manager Shontez Wynn by phone at 256-351-6850 or 256-565-3386, or by email at shontez.wynn@capna.org.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (to Recruit)

The winter holiday season is for most a time spent with family, sharing home cooked meals, and shopping for gifts. For Head Start staff, it is also a time to connect with the community and recruit families for Early Head Start and Head Start.

Ft. Payne Head Start staff prepare to participate in the 2020 Ft. Payne Christmas parade

Center Director Theresa Dalton (Ft. Payne) and her staff participated in a Recruitment & Community Involvement event last December by entering a float in the Ft. Payne Christmas parade to get the word out to families that Head Start recruiting season lasts all year. As the parade moved through the downtown streets, members of the Ft. Payne team walked alongside their school bus-themed float and passed out recruitment flyers while others rode atop the float, throwing candy and greeting parade spectators from the DeKalb County town of about 14,000 people.

Center Director Theresa Dalton (front) and staff prepare to participate in the Ft. Payne Christmas parade

Families interested in Ft. Payne Early Head Start (ages birth to 3) or Preschool Head Start (ages 3 to 5) can call (256) 845-9176 for Preschool Head Start or (256) 845-5951 for Early Head Start, or visit us online to complete an application at CAPNA Children’s Services.

Building Strong Communities Together

Easier than repairing broken neighborhoods

Decatur Fire and Rescue trimmed a resident’s tree that was threatening to drop limbs on their home.

The hum of machinery, the clattering of ladders, and the buzz of volunteers made their way into East Decatur (AL) once again for the fifth annual NeighborWorks Week. For the last five years, Community Action Partnership of North Alabama has joined community leaders and volunteers to help revitalize an aging community and bring together neighbors through street makeovers.

Prep work began on Thursday, May 30th with the mowing of lawns of participating homeowners. Friday, May 31st played host to extensive pressure washing and debris removal. The sun just high enough to create long shadows from the aging oaks on Enolam Boulevard, the “real work” began at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, June 3rd as volunteers from the local Lowe’s Home Improvement store arrived to take on the complete repainting of a home.

Taking on an entire street for intense hands-on revitalization is now an expectation of staff and volunteers who have the event marked on their calendars each year. Long-time partners like Decatur Fire & Rescue commit their time and energy to giving back to the communities they protect. And at times DFR laid down their shovels and headed out on a call. Emergencies did not take a break during NeighborWorks Week and neither did Decatur’s first responders.

After four days of painting, trimming, and mulching, volunteers and supporters convened at the Partnerships Central Office in Decatur to celebrate community and bring neighbors together. Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling addressed those in attendance, commending the efforts of residents and community leaders in supporting their community and building relationships with one another.

One resident who not only benefited from the project but also lent a hand in his neighbor’s yard. He recapped his experience by saying, “I finally met my neighbors. We talked and now I have invited their kids to our Vacation Bible School.” New friendships were forged, freshening the neighborhood from the inside out.

Desert Storm veteran and resident Mark Midgley shares how the NeighborWorks Week street makeover impacted him and his mother Sue Marron

A total of 96 volunteers contributed nearly $23,000 worth of labor during the four days of neighborhood revitalization. The relationships that were formed, and the connections made during the week, are priceless impacts with lasting effects on the strength of the community.

Neighbors helping neighbors. Building Strong Communities. Together.

Is One Day of Caring Enough?

“Is one Day of Caring enough?”  The answer is, quite simply, no.  And because the answer is ‘no’….

The annual United Way of Morgan County Day of Caring has come and gone and with it brings the question, “Is one Day of Caring enough?”  The answer is, quite simply, no.  And because the answer is ‘no’, Community Action Partnership of North Alabama is committed to reducing or eliminating the causes and consequences of poverty for families and communities 365 days a year.

Each year The Partnership joins hundreds of other volunteers across Morgan County (AL) on the Day of Caring to help serve non-profits in their community.  From painting the walls of the local free clinic to performing outdoor maintenance at an outreach center, volunteers help fill the gaps that non-profits experience with limited funds and staffing.  The event kicks off the annual United Way of Morgan County (UWMCAL) fundraising campaign that will provide desperately needing funding for non-profits across Morgan County.

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This year, The Partnership’s Director of Senior Programs Tamisha Sales organized a Read-A-Thon at a local elementary school.  The purpose of the project was to bring awareness to the importance of literacy and the impact of volunteering.  Volunteers from Decatur Police Department joined Partnership staff and read to nearly 400 students in first-, second-, and third-grade classrooms.

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The Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) is just one of many local non-profit programs that receive funding from United Way of Morgan County.  Through the FGP, local seniors serve in area schools to provide support for students in need of extra academic or social/emotional help.

Other Partnership programs receiving United Way funding are the Senior Companion Program and Meals on Wheels & More (MOW&M).  Unlike other Meals on Wheels programs across the country, The Partnership’s MOW&M program received no federal funding.  Therefore, funds provided by UWMCAL are vital to its existence and ability to serve local elderly and disabled residents in Morgan County.

The 2018 Day of Caring extended beyond the Read-A-Thon by soliciting personal care product donations.  Director of Community Services Cindy Anderson delivered a box of hundreds of products to Director of Ministries Denise Jones of Tennessee Valley Outreach for their customers in need.

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The 2018 United Way Day of Caring is in the books and the fundraising campaign has begun.  But the caring nature of The Partnership and the community continues.  For those in the non-profit world, every day is a day of caring.  It is in the DNA of non-profits across the country and world.  As a Community Action agency The Partnership subscribes to the Community Action Promise that states:

So, simply put, one day of caring is not enough.  And that is why we continue serving our communities along with strong partners like United Way of Morgan County each and every day.

NeighborWorks Week 2017 Triggers Plans for Pocket Park in SE Decatur

Southeast Decatur residents may soon benefit from the continuing efforts of The Partnership’s 2017 NeighborWorks Week street makeover with plans for a new pocket park on Enolam Boulevard.

During the 2017 NeighborWorks Week street makeover event, residents of Enolam Boulevard and neighboring streets expressed interest in converting a vacant corner lot into a small park.    The Partnership cleaned up the lot for the staging area of the NeighborWorks Week event last June and its potential was realized as a future location for some type of neighborhood green space.

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Coordinated through Partnership Community Engagement Specialist Amber Jones, contact was made with the City of Decatur.  Officials were asked about the possibility of converting the lot owned by the city into a pocket park for residents.  “A group of the residents came to me with the suggestion to build the pocket park,” Councilwoman Kristi Hill.

The pocket park is just one of many city improvements being considered for funding with the Community Development Block Grant funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Thanks to a 25% increase in the city’s federal grant money for low-income areas, the City of Decatur is able to increase or expand its funded projects for 2018.

 

NeighborWorks Week 2018 Continues Street Makeovers in SE Decatur

To have someone come and help you…it’s unexpected. If everyone could expect this, it’d be a different world. -SE Decatur resident Alonzo Villarreal 

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Each June NeighborWorks American and its local organizations mobilize volunteers, neighbors, friends, and national and local leaders in a weeklong celebration of neighborhood change and awareness that helps strengthen communities and celebrate our collective impact.  This year, NeighborWorks Week takes place from Saturday, June 2nd through Saturday, June 9th.

NeighborWorks Week 2018 Highlights SE Decatur on Tenth Avenue

Beginning Monday, June 4th, our annual NeighborWorks Week event will kick off in the East Decatur community on the 1900-2000 block of 10th Avenue SE.  Each day, volunteers and staff will descend on the work area with one goal in mind: leave 10th Street SE better than they found it.  As the population of the area ages and limited incomes affect homeowners’ abilities to maintain their yards, needs grow for basic landscaping.

Teams of volunteers will donate their time, sweat, and dollars to help trim trees and shrubs, mow lawns, paint homes, and perform minor repairs such as updating porch railings and mend soffits.

Resident Alonzo Villarreal said during NeighborWorks 2017, “To have someone come and help you…it’s unexpected. If everyone could expect this, it’d be a different world.”

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Partnership CEO Michael Tubbs builds a new sidewalk for a homeowner during NeighborWorks Week 2017 in East Decatur.  Click the image to see the results of the week of work.

This year marks the 5th year that The Partnership has focused its NeighborWorks Week efforts in the SE Decatur area through block and street makeovers.   And during the celebration event at the end of NeighborWorks Week, participating residents from the previous years’ events will be recognized with awards given for those who have continued to maintain their yards.

The event celebration for volunteers, partners, residents, and staff will take place on Friday, June 8th at 11 a.m. at the corner of 19th Avenue SE and 10th Street SE, on the event staging area lot.