Meeting the Need: Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels of Wake County = Big Impact for Local Seniors

For over 44 years Meals on Wheels of Wake County has been a trusted agency in local senior care. Because of all the people who have joined together to care for our senior neighbors, this powerhouse movement served its 9 MILLIONTH meal on December 6, 2017.

But, looking past the number of meals, you will find our wonderful clients who benefit from our impact daily. Among our 1,300 recipients there are veterans of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, teachers, police officers, homemakers, nurses, musicians, business owners, farmers, church and community volunteers — men and women from all walks of life. They have spent a lifetime helping others. Now, due to frail health and limited resources, they need our help.

Nationally, Meals on Wheels programs rank high among the best agencies in social services. We have “eyes & ears” on our clients daily. We represent food security, better health, and social connections for homebound seniors.

Locally, we provide a means for our community to efficiently and compassionately care for our aging neighbors. At the heart of this community solution are more than 2,000 volunteers who keep the wheels turning throughout Wake County. Serving up friendship and nutrition in both senior dining rooms and through deliveries directly to seniors’ homes, Meals on Wheels is making Wake County stronger, safer, and more senior-friendly.

Right now, nearly one out of every six seniors in this country may not know where their next meal is coming from and millions more are suffering from isolation. Research shows that malnourished, isolated seniors have a higher rate of hospital readmissions, have longer hospital stays, have a higher risk of falls, and a higher risk of substance abuse. Meals on Wheels saves billions in taxpayer spending by keeping seniors healthy and in their homes and out of hospitals and nursing homes. We can provide an entire year of Meals on Wheels service to a client for less than the average cost of one week in a nursing home or one day in a hospital.

In Wake County we are on the cusp of an aging tsunami. Over the next few years we will experience a 152% increase (over 158,000 people) in the 65+ population. It is imperative that we have the necessary resources to care for our vulnerable elderly neighbors. Our critical services promote good health and well-being for our seniors, and provide economic and social benefits for our community.

If you would like to volunteer or donate to Meals on Wheels to help us sustain our crucial mission please visit www.wakemow.org or call 919-833-1749.

Meeting the Need: K9s Serving Vets

Bringing Veterans & Service Dogs Together

As a relatively new charitable organization, K9s Serving Vets is answering the call to provide assistance to challenged veterans. Their mission is to serve as the liaison between the Department of Veteran Affairs, those who have served and the community using education and assistance to bring Veterans and service dogs together.

K9s Serving Vets had its inception in Woodbridge, VA in July, 2016 and its main goal is to assist Veterans in securing service dogs in North Carolina and Virginia. Service dogs provide flexibility to Veteran with mobility, health and other life challenges. They are specifically trained and tested to serve the needs of each individual Veteran. The additional goal is to assist them in navigating the regulations of the Department of Veteran Affairs to nurture their new partnership.

K9s Serving Vets was founded by Kira Clark, a Veteran with her own challenges. Clark experienced difficulty after her medical discharge from the U.S. Army in 1996. Without the support of her military comrades she found it difficult to go out in public for fear of feeling uncomfortable. In 2003 she was introduced to Animals in the Military Helping Individuals (AIMHI), an Army program that provided trained service dogs to medically challenged Veterans. Her first dog was not a good match for her and her second dog developed a health condition and passed away. However AIMHI (led by outstanding trainer Pamela-Ann Jackson) found a perfect match with Sassi, a hound lab mix. Sassi was Kira’s path back to a completely safe life and a loving team relationship. Sassi provided emergency assistance and devotion for over ten years.

Kira wants the same kind of support she received for fellow Veterans with health issues. She wants them to avoid the missteps she experienced with trainers and the public. Some examples she faced were not hearing from an organization for two years because they didn’t have a representative in the area to perform the home visit, another the loss of her application and then she applied with another organization and trained with a wonderful dog for 10 months and just weeks before finalizing her partnership the organization refused to replace him with her. Many Veterans go through long wait periods (2-5 years) due to the sheer number of those in need and then some have twists and turns like Kira did and sometimes they simply lose hope and give up. Currently K9s Serving Vets has a strong working relationship with three service dog training organizations that will provide the proper means for a Veteran to become part of a new team relationship. In addition, K9s Serving Vets will guide the Veteran in securing valuable benefits from the Department of Veteran Affairs, such as appropriate care for their service dog.

Creating and uniquely bonded service dog teams is crucial to providing Veterans with much needed support and assistance that can provide the care needed to improve their daily lives.

How You Can Help

The organization recently received permission to operate in the state of North Carolina from the General Statues of North Carolina. With this incorporation comes the need for volunteers, donors and grants. The goal is to support Veterans by assisting with the cost of service dogs which is over $30,000 through fundraising, grant donations and monetary donations.

K9s has two ongoing fundraisers that we’d like to ask the community to support. The first is the collecting of used and unused inkjet cartridges, old cell phone, laptops, iPad/tablets, digital cameras, toner cartridges, etc. that are sent to a recycling company that provides cash to the organization. The second ongoing fundraising effort is for family, friends and employees to shop through Amazon at smile.amazon.com and select K9s Serving Vets as your organization; a percentage of all purchases will receive a donation from Amazon.

Meeting the Need: Covered In Love

October is miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss awareness month.

According to the CDC, “About 1% of all pregnancies are stillborn (after 20 weeks gestation), and each year about 24,000 babies are stillborn in the United States. That is about the same as the number of babies who die each year during the first year of life. It is also more than 10 times as many deaths as the number that occur from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Approximately 10-25 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage before 20 weeks gestation.”

The odds of a miscarriage are potentially as high as 1 in 4.

Knowing first hand the pain and emptiness that follow such a loss, the founders of Covered In Love have developed a ministry to bring hope and healing to families that have experienced loss. Located in Raleigh, North Carolina, Covered In Love has had over 20 women attend their local support group and given over 1000 blankets to families worldwide. They have had hundreds of volunteers attend events to help make blankets and love on these families. Many of the volunteers have experienced loss themselves. These numbers are huge and this is just in the United States. These numbers do not account for loss that happens around the world. That is why it is so important to bring awareness to this type of loss and give a voice to these families.

Support Covered In Love

To learn more about Covered In Love, please visit their website or see their post on our See the Needs: Raleigh website on how to make the Easy No-Sew Blankets needed for their ministry.