By Joe Jarosz
October 8, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The Don Bosco Senior Center hit the jackpot.
Last Tuesday, the Caesars Foundation and Harrah’s North Kansas City Casino presented the Don Bosco Senior Center, the local member of the Meals On Wheels Association of America, with a Ford Transit Connect Van to expand the organization’s ability to provide meals to older individuals in the community. In addition, Tom Cook, general manager for Harrah’s North Kansas City, surprised senior center director Anne Miller with a check for $10,000.
“I’m speechless,” Miller said. “We knew about the van but the check is a complete surprise. You don’t know what this means to the center.”
Don Bosco Senior Center currently serves hundreds of older individuals in the greater Kansas City area by serving more than 6,000 well-balanced meals each month. The new vehicle will help to deliver 6,300 additional prepared meals annually and 525 meals each month. This past summer, the center lost two vehicles because of theft.
“As a nonprofit with limited dollars and resources, faced with the daily challenges of meeting the needs of our growing number of clients, this gift will have tremendous impact on our bottom line,” Miller said. “Thanks to the tremendous generosity of the Caesars Foundation and the Meals on Wheels of America Association, more dollars can be used for our clients rather than on costly repairs of maintaining an old vehicle, used long past its prime.”
Miller said the Don Bosco Senior Center serves almost 200 seniors a day at the facility on Campbell. Outside the building, the center serve almost 300 homebound seniors. The Don Bosco Senior Center also caters other senior centers and one elementary school in the Kansas City area, reaching almost 750 people daily.
Ellie Hollander, president and CEO of Meals On Wheels Association of America said the Caesars Foundation has recognized that together, “we can deliver a solution that enables seniors to live a nourished life with independence and dignity.”
“Meals on Wheels is more than just a hot meal to seniors,” Hollander said, adding that the drivers build a relationship with the recipients and build a connect to the community.
Thom Reilly, Executive Director of the Caesars Foundation, said the service that Don Bosco Senior Center provides to the countless friends and neighbors in the community is invaluable.
“We are very proud to be a part of the efforts in decreasing senior hunger in the North Kansas City community, and throughout the country,” Reilly said.
This is the 53rd vehicle the Caesars Foundation has provided to a Meals On Wheels Association of America member, and the second to the Don Bosco Senior Center since 2002, representing more than a $5 million commitment the foundation has invested toward ending senior hunger through a partnership spanning more than a decade. In 2002, the Foundation also provided a grant of $35,000 directly to the Don Bosco Senior Center.
“It’s about time they got a new van,” Reilly said.