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Meals On Wheels cutting service

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Jul 16 2012 07:36:09 PM HST
Updated On: Jul 17 2012 09:21:18 AM HST

Due to belt tightening for the Lanikila Meals on Wheels program, homebound seniors will be receiving fewer meals.

HONOLULU -

At 92- year old, Fred Miyashiro isn’t as spry as he used to be.  But Monday, he called the Handi-Van service and struggled to get to Safeway to buy more food.

"You buy one package, they give you one free. Buy one, get one free. What a deal!" said Miyashiro.

The Liliha resident is one of hundreds of clients who used to get five frozen meals a week, but is being cut back to four.

Lanakila Meals On Wheels program managers hated to break the news to the seniors, but felt it was the best way to deal with a growing demand and shrinking pot of money.

"That just seemed like the right thing to do meet their needs rather than just cutting them off the list. It really has been a difficult decision because seniors need meals they need food," said Lyn Moku.

Volunteer Bob Boech was working in the freezer all morning to make sure Miyashiro's meals were ready to go for the week.  The food is cooked at the Lanakila commercial kitchen and then prepared for delivery.

"We try to have a week’s meals in the freezer ready to go, so the correct numbers are there and they are staged properly so people can come in and pack them," aid Boech.

The program currently serves 700 seniors and there is a waiting list of 400.

But to offset the effect of the belt tightening, it has started offering meals for an added cost.

"The private-pay program is really for people who can afford to purchase a meal it is $8.50 a meal, a frozen meal delivered to a person’s home. It’s not for everyone, but for those who can afford to pay or whose families can afford to pay, it is an option,” said Moku.

With government funding flat and corporate and private donations are down, Lanakila is stepping up efforts to boost its money-making ventures.

One enterprise offers silk-screening and embroidered shirts while another provides lunch service for private and charter schools.

There is also the push for an October fundraiser called The Good Table which allows patrons to purchase meals at more than 50 restaurants and eateries around town.

The proceeds will go to help fund the programs to help the elderly.

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