Meals on Wheels in Contra Costa County has upgraded its image with a rebranding effort aimed at better reflecting the organization's purpose.
Formerly known as Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services, the newly renamed Meals on Wheels Diablo Region celebrated the organization's 50th anniversary on Saturday with a gala at the Blackhawk Museum. At the event, officials highlighted the organization's accomplishments as well as their rebranding efforts and hopes for the future.
"Guests were generous beyond belief. It made us feel very loved," community engagement director Susannah Meyer said. "We were able to make a lot of new connections with people in the area."
With a new name, logo and website, CEO Elaine Clark said the rebranding was made in an effort to not only reach out to a younger demographic of potential supporters, but also to make services more accessible for elderly clients.
"We're not your grandmother's Meals on Wheels," Clark said in a statement. "We hope to create a swell of interest among young people who understand that the foundation we're laying today will pave the way for the care they'll receive when they reach their senior years."
The organization officially announced changes to its image last month.
The new Meals on Wheels website is more attractive and offers easier navigation, not only for the senior citizens the organization serves, but also for younger people looking to get involved, officials said. The organization wants people to know that food delivery is not the only service it offers Contra Costa's population of more than 240,000 senior citizens, over 60% of whom are functionally impaired or live alone.
"We cover so much more ground now, both geographically and in terms of services,” Clark said. "Today, we're closely aligned with the national senior advocacy movement, and continue to coordinate efforts with local and national partners to do whatever we can so that seniors can live independently and with dignity in their homes for as long as possible."
In addition to meal delivery, Meals on Wheels offers senior citizens educational opportunities on exercise, healthy living and fall prevention, as well as offering companionship to isolated seniors in addition to care.
According to Meals on Wheels, the organization delivers close to 220,000 meals throughout the county every year. In 2016, the Diablo Region chapter had 1,563 volunteers put in over 70,000 hours of work serving the county's senior population. Of the seniors serviced, 54% were over the age of 70 and 40% were living below the poverty line, earning less than $15,000 a year.
The financial impact of maintaining these services is provided by a mix of government funds and private donations. In 2016, seniors were serviced with a budget of $1,977,202, 47% of which came from private contributions and foundation grants.
With proposed cuts from the national budget, Clark said that private contributions are now more important than ever.
"Although we're throwing a party, we don't want people to forget that their generous donations are critical to helping us address the challenges our aging population face: isolation, loneliness, falling, poor nutrition, a lack of social support, these are, at times, life and death issues," Clark said prior to the gala. "We can never stop talking about the need for people to pitch in."
Meals on Wheels Diablo Region services senior citizens throughout the entirety of Contra Costa County.