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Meals-on-Wheels in Forsyth County in need of donations

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. --Meals-on-Wheels has been active in Forsyth County for 52 years. It provides meals, Monday through Friday, to about 1200 seniors in the county.

Now, the nonprofit group is worried it could have to scale back its operations.

For the past five years, Richard Gottlieb, CEO and president of Senior Services, Inc. said his group has gotten $300,000 a year in funding from the Kate B. Reynolds Trust.

Gottlieb said the funds were used for Meals-on-Wheels, which falls under Senior Services, Inc.

But come July 1, the funding from the Kate B. Reynolds Trust will end.

"We understand and completely recognize that they are choosing some other priorities that are equally important," Gottlieb said. "We're going to have to find some other resources."

Gottlieb said that $300,000 covered about a quarter of the cost of their yearly meals.

"That's a huge drop for us," he said. "$300,000 is 60,000 meals."

Gottlieb said he has gone to the Forsyth County Commissioners to request $200,000 in funding. He's also hoping that community members will step up.

"Individual and corporate and faith community donations are critical for us," he said. "The senior population is growing so rapidly. We have more needs than we can really answer and respond to."

George Schlett is one of the seniors that Meals-on-Wheels serves. He said, when you get a meal from Meals-on-Wheels, it is much more than just food.

"Not only do they deliver the meals, but they come in, they talk to you," he said. "They see how you're doing that day. We're always glad to see them."

Meals-on-Wheels Volunteer Coordinator Stacy Verner said sometimes, volunteers even find a senior in need during their routine visits, and they have had to call 9-1-1 in the past.

"We've had folks who have gone to the door, and found someone has fallen," she said. "And they'd been injured and needed immediate assistance. And had that volunteer not come to the door that day, they would've stayed on the floor, injured. We don't know how long."

Verner said she is worried about what this loss of funding will mean for the group. She said that, already, there is a waiting list for seniors to get services.

"This is a lot of times the only meal they get during the day," Verner said. "I have seen folks split that noon-time meal between noon and dinner time. So it's vital that they get that meal."

For more information on Meals-on-Wheels in Forsyth County, go to seniorservicesinc.org.