Growing Pains: Metro Meals on Wheels working to keep up with demand

Posted at 8:26 PM, Jan 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-21 22:26:02-05

In December, the U.S. Census Bureau found Idaho is the fastest growing state in the country. Many of those moving to the Gem State are seniors, making the work of Metro Meals on Wheels needed now more than ever.

"From my 13 years of experience we've probably doubled in size of the volume number of clients," said Metro Meals on Wheels volunteer Curt Visselmyer.

Curt is just one of the 400 volunteers the organization relies on to feed homebound Ada County seniors a nutritious meal each day; more than 900 on weekdays and 700 on the weekends, both at home and at senior centers across the county. 

With Idaho experiencing explosive growth and a majority of newcomers funneling into Boise and Meridian, the demand for Meals on Wheels is only going up. 

"When we did our three-year projection we were saying 1,200 meals a day but now we've narrowed that and now we are saying in probably two years we'll be at that level so we're growing fast," said Director of Metro Meals on Wheels Grant Jones.

 On top of that, the third of their funding coming from the federal government hasn't seen an increase since 2016. While Jones admits the demand does present a challenge, he says no matter what happens the quality of their services won't suffer. 

"Really the only option we would have is to raise more money because we're not willing to lower our level of service or the things that we do, that's really the only option we see to meet the growing needs in Ada County," said Jones. 

While Curt has no plans of slowing down as a volunteer, he knows they are always looking for more help.

"I have been extremely blessed in life, my reason for doing this is maybe I can bless somebody else," said Visselmyer.