BRMC Meals on Wheels will provide meals to the approximately 40 existing clients in Bradford. “We looked at the Meals on Wheels program and felt it was a wonderful opportunity for the hospital to step in and ensure the continuation of this much needed and long-standing community program,” said Timothy Finan, president and chief executive officer, BRMC and Upper Allegheny Health System.
“Meals on Wheels clients depend on this service for hot meals so with the help of the Bradford Hospital Foundation, the hospital put together a plan to assume operation of the program.” The program has a 46-year tradition in Bradford, most recently with the YWCA and previously with the American Red Cross. “It is an appropriate fit within the mission of BRMC,” he said.
“The Bradford Hospital Foundation has taken a lead role in identifying community support. Thus far, a total of $35,000 has been pledged by two area organizations to support the program,” Finan said. The Blaisdell Foundation is contributing $25,000 and the United Way of Bradford is contributing $10,000.
“In addition, the Bradford Hospital Foundation has provided $13,000 for the purchase of a steamer for the assistance in food preparation and has provided another $1,500 for additional equipment needs. This is truly a wonderful testament to the community coming together to preserve this much needed program,” he said.
“The YWCA Bradford could not be happier that BRMC will be taking over this vital program,” said Vanessa Castano, executive director of the Bradford YWCA. “After six years of providing the service, the YWCA will miss our participants, staff and volunteers, but we believe this transition will best serve those in need, as Meals on Wheels better aligns with BRMC’s scope of work.”
Finan said that BRMC will prepare the hot meals for client availability five days a week with an alternate menu option available. Weekend meal coverage will be available at client request. The program will use volunteer drivers to take the meals to clients’ homes. BRMC is working with the YWCA to ensure a smooth transfer of the program and the YWCA Meals on Wheels project coordinator, Jessica Jarrett-McKeirnan, will be coming to BRMC to run the day-to-day operations of BRMC Meals on Wheels.
Stacy Shotts-Williams, director of volunteer services and community outreach at BRMC, will have organizational responsibility for the program. BRMC is also working with PathStone, a Bradford community development and human service organization, which currently provides five people to package the meals. These workers will transition to the BRMC Meals on Wheels program.
The current program provides one hot meal per day to clients. “We hope to move into a two meal per day program after the transition,” Finan said.
The hospital will also file an application to become part of the national Meals on Wheels program. For more information on the BRMC Meals on Wheels program, or to become a volunteer driver, call 362-8288.