LEO hopes to expand Meals on Wheels after saving some cash

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The head of Lambton Elderly Outreach hopes to serve more meals to more seniors after negotiating a new deal for Meals on Wheels.

Bill Upchuck recently went to the County of Lambton to talk about the cost of providing the frozen meal service.

Since 2008, LEO has purchased 7,000 frozen meals a year and about 1000 hot meals a year made by County of Lambton staff at Lambton Meadowview in Petrolia. The frozen meals cost $6.50 each and the price had not risen since 2008.

But Yurchuk, who was recently named CEO of LEO, was given a mandate by his board to review all the services they provide.

Yurchuk says the Meals on Wheels program was running at a slight deficit of about $4,000 a year.

The seniors were paying the $6.50 cost however LEO still had to pay to run the program, paying for gas mileage for volunteers who deliver the products.

So he went to the county to see if there was room to lower the costs per meal.

“He told me that changing (the cost) would put him into a deficit or a further deficit,” says Yurchuk. “I have no issues with them not being able to change their bill…their cost probably should have been higher because of their expenses.”

And LEO didn’t want to increase the cost to seniors to eliminate the deficit.

So LEO started looking for other options to bring down costs. Yurchuk found it, contracting the service out to a local caterer – Paquette Frozen Foods.

Yurchuk says there was never a problem with the quality of the food from Meadowview but “Paquette has a great reputation…I think our client will pleasantly surprised.”

But the best part of the new deal is LEO will be able to serve more people in more communities.

“The demand for services is going to continue to grow due to our aging populations and we want to make sure we grow with it,” he says. “We’re making lots of changes to position ourselves for that growth that is coming.”

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