Meals on Wheels, in 'forever home,' needs public's help

Group that delivers meals, love to homebound seniors faces looming expenses

David Gilbert
dgilbert@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 1/13/20

TLC Meals on Wheels is up and rolling in its new home, but there's still lots of work to do. Meals on Wheels, which delivers healthy food and companionship to homebound seniors and people with …

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Meals on Wheels, in 'forever home,' needs public's help

Group that delivers meals, love to homebound seniors faces looming expenses

Posted

TLC Meals on Wheels is up and rolling in its new home, but there's still lots of work to do.

Meals on Wheels, which delivers healthy food and companionship to homebound seniors and people with disabilities, officially moved into the old Las Delicias restaurant at Broadway and Arapahoe Road in the final days of 2019.

The nonprofit lost its home of 10 years, the old Ames Elementary School, as Littleton Public Schools demolishes the building to make way for a rebuild. That left the group hunting for a new home, before a supporter who asked not to be named bought the restaurant building for a little over $1 million — which Meals on Wheels needs to pay back.

Moving operations to the new facility came down to the wire, said Diane McClymonds, Meals on Wheels' executive director.

“They were deconstructing the school around us by the time we left,” McClymonds said.

Renovations went slowly at the restaurant, especially after construction crews discovered the building's pipes were rotting.

“Failure was not an option,” McClymonds said. “We pulled it off, thank God, because people are relying on us.”

The new building is a godsend with a lot of potential, McClymonds said.

“This is our forever home,” McClymonds said. “It's a welcoming place to gather, and we want to make the most of it.”

McClymonds envisions using the former dining room to host community meals, educational and balance classes for seniors, and maybe some entertainment.

But it'll take money to get there. The group still needs to pay back the cost of the building, and still has looming expenses like paying for new HVAC units to replace the worn-out equipment from the restaurant days.

Meanwhile, the group prepares close to 500 meals a day, distributed over a wide swath of the south metro area. Though Meals on Wheels invites clients to pay the full cost of their meal — $5 each, up from $4 last year — only 43% of clients are able to pay, with the rest paying less, or nothing.

“We raised enough to cover the renovations,” McClymonds said. “But there's still a lot of heavy lifting ahead. We've never undertaken any project of this scale.”

McClymonds thanked a number of groups who helped Meals on Wheels get the facility ready in time: Beaver Builders, which renovated the facility; the City of Littleton, Arapahoe County and Tri-County Health Department, who fast-tracked permits and inspections; and Northern Group Architects and Ricca Design, who donated expertise in planning the building's renovation.

Meals on Wheels means the world to its clients, said board member Andrea Stevens.

“Food is life,” Stevens said, “but we're also feeding souls. For someone who's home alone and can't go anywhere, this is someone who comes to say hello, to make sure you're all right.”

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