PROVIDENCE – Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island raised a record $58,900 during its 2018 March for Meals annual fundraising and public awareness campaign to end senior hunger and isolation across the state, about $14,000 more than last year.
The fundraising milestone is the biggest yet for the charity’s fundraiser, which pulled in $34,775 in 2016.
“We’re hoping that the fact that this is a visibility campaign is helping us out,” said Karen Weavill, director of development.
Each March, the monthlong campaign rallies Rhode Island officials, business leaders and community supporters to advocate for the vulnerable seniors who rely on vital services to remain healthy and independent in their own homes. Weavill said the campaign pairs elected officials on meal deliveries to raise public awareness and also to underscore the importance of the meals for the thousands of elderly and shut-ins served by the charity.
Some of the people tell them the meal delivered to them by Meals on Wheels is the only meal they eat that day. Weavill said one of the delivered meals can make the difference between whether a person had to visit the hospital or take up residence at a nursing facility. Each of those options costs quite a bit more than a hot meal delivered.
“Helping these folks is a smart business decision as well,” Weavill said.
The campaign total includes sponsorships from Webster Bank, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, CVS Health, Mott & Chace Sotheby’s International Realty, Howes Lubricator, Starkweather & Shepley Insurance Brokerage Inc., KLR Certified Public Accounts, Mutual of America and Amica Companies Foundation.
More than $5,500 of the campaign total came from its companion “Buy a Wheel” in-store fundraiser, which proudly welcomed Brigido’s Fresh Market as a new campaign partner this year and Jerry’s Supermarket as a return partner.
“We also want to thank Gov. Gina [M.] Raimondo, the state congressional delegation and other elected officials who lent their public support of our mission and services by hand-delivering meals to homebound Rhode Island seniors throughout March,” said Heather Amaral, executive director of Meals on Wheels Rhode Island.
In addition to the governor, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., R.I. House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung participated in the campaign.
“We are proud of our campaign’s success and honored that so many have entrusted us with their charitable dollars,” Amaral said. “Of course, our work does not end here. In order to meet the continuous and growing need for Meals on Wheels of RI services, our fundraising and advocacy efforts are ongoing.”
Donations to the 2018 March for Meals campaign are still being accepted online at www.rimeals.org, by mail to 70 Bath St., Providence, RI 02908, or by phone at (401) 351-6700.
Rob Borkowski is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Borkowski@PBN.com.