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Weekend meals return for Southwest Idaho Meals on Wheels programs behind $162,000 donation

The funding agency had cut weekend meals Oct. 1 2022 due to a lack of funding to make it through the fiscal year.

IDAHO, USA — Weekend meals for homebound seniors in Southwestern Idaho will return to local Meals on Wheels programs through June 30, 2023.

St. Luke's and SelectHealth donated $162,000 to pay for weekend meals through the fiscal year, according to The Southwest Idaho Area Agency on Aging (SWIA3). SWIA3 works as the funding agency above Meals on Wheels programs throughout Ada, Adams, Boise, Canyon, gem, Idaho, Payette, Owyhee, Elmore and Washington counties.

SWIA3 cut weekend meals Oct. 1, 2022, due to an increase of demand. The agency had insufficient funds to make it through the fiscal year. KTVB previously reported Caldwell's Meals on Wheels program would use rainy-day funds to ensure weekend meals until the fiscal year rolled over.

Individual donations to the Caldwell program in response totaled $25,000 within a week, according to Program Coordinator Julie Warwick. She estimated the out-of-pocket weekend costs to cover the remaining month would reach $22,000.

"That was amazing. When I started getting those little beeps on my phone telling me those donations were coming in, I was absolutely overwhelmed. I'm so appreciative of those folks," Warwick said. "I know the difference it makes in so many people's lives."

Warwick estimated 100 people in her region would have missed weekend meals for four months if her program did not dip into their rainy-day funds. In total, 870 people did miss meals, according to SWIA3. Meals on Wheels Metro Boise serves 500 of them.

"This was a big deal breaker for us. We're so thankful to St. Luke's and SelectHealth," Meals on Wheels Metro Boise CEO Grant Jones said. "These people depend not only on the nutrition they receive, but that check. That safety check-in. That friendly smile. Social isolation is so critical for seniors. It is so important to us to make sure they are not socially isolated."

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