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Meals on Wheels and United Way change partnership

SALISBURY — Meals on Wheels is stepping out from beneath the United Way umbrella.

The two organizations sent out a joint news release Thursday.

For 42 years, Meals on Wheels has received allocations from United Way of Rowan County to help provide nutritional meals to homebound senior citizens. In fact, United Way funding came before volunteers even made the first delivery.

The longtime partnership has fostered growth and increased awareness of Meals on Wheels, which offers a critical service in a time when the need continues to grow, the news release said. In 2019, senior adults will outnumber children in Rowan County.

“United Way gave us a base of support and provided the ‘training wheels’ from which we grew to provide better nutrition and better services to more of the eligible homebound seniors and disabled citizens in Rowan County,” said Meals on Wheels President Connie Basinger.

The Meals on Wheels board of directors has decided now is the time for the agency to become independent in its fundraising efforts. United Way leadership agrees that as agencies become stronger and more self-sufficient, it is appropriate for them to seek financial support from a wider variety of sources.

“We do not want to hold Meals on Wheels back in any way,” said Bill Burgin, president of United Way of Rowan County. “We realize that, as food, technology and staff costs have increased, it has become necessary for agencies to raise more money outside of their United Way allocation.”

As it fulfills its mission of assisting local nonprofit member agencies, United Way applauds their growth and success, said Michelle Patterson, chairman of the organization’s public relations committee.

The Rowan County Girl Scouts Hornets’ Nest Council also left the United Way auspices as it became able to support its own fundraising.

As stronger agencies branch out on their own, the door opens for United Way to address other local needs.

“The need is always great, and our goal is always a healthier community,” Patterson said.

Both Meals on Wheels and United Way of Rowan County will continue to work to meet the basic needs of the local community, the news release said. Meals on Wheels will remain a collaborative partner in the nonprofit community, and United Way will use a comprehensive needs assessment to continue funding the most critical health and human services in the county.

“Our mission is always the same – to change local lives for the better,” Burgin said.



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