Seniors in rural areas face unique challenges. In Tahoe Truckee, long months of snow and cold pose significant challenges ranging from the risk of slipping on ice to the difficulties of affording adequate heat. Many low-income seniors are homebound and during the long, long winter they may not see anyone except the volunteer who delivers Meals on Wheels.
When TTCF heard about proposed cuts to the Meals on Wheels program (less delivery days, fewer clients, packaged meals,) staff quickly convened a group of community “power players,” including elected officials, donors, service club presidents etc. After walking the 35 people present through cuts that the program was proposing, the meeting quickly transitioned to problem solving.
Within a few weeks a number of solutions had been put in place:
- Two consultants agreed to provide pro bono support to the Sierra Senior Services board
- A donor provided a challenge grant to the Sierra Senior Services board, which allowed the board to initiate a donor outreach effort with support from Community Foundation staff
- The Town of Truckee applied for CDBG funds that could be used to support the Meals on Wheels program
Two years later, Sierra Senior Services is financially stable. None of the proposed cuts to the Meals on Wheels program had to be implemented. Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation provided $60,000 in direct funds that first year as well as countless hours of technical support.
Through the advocacy, leadership, and grantmaking of Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, the region’s most vulnerable seniors continue to receive both the nutrition and the emotional support of nearly daily visits from the volunteers who bring them food and friendship.