Lee’s Summit’s One Good Meal is hungry for funds to continue providing meals to shut-in residents

rpulley@lsjournal.comSeptember 4, 2013 

One Good Meal is desperately seeking money to keep delivering meals to shut-in residents in Lee’s Summit.

The agency owes about $18,000 to its vendor, the Lee’s Summit Hy-Vee store on Langsford Road, which is lowering its line of credit, said Roberta McArthur, the agency’s director. She said Hy-Vee’s management has been very generous, but as a business it can only do so much.

“I don’t want anyone thinking anything bad about Hy-Vee,” McArthur said. The grocery’s catering service already gives the agency meals below cost, she said.

The agency delivers meals, one a day, Monday thorough Friday, to about 100 residents who are elderly or disabled, regardless of ability to pay.

The agency’s intent is for donations to cover about 25 percent of its expenses and clients to cover 75 percent by paying for their meals. But that’s a hard to meet that goal with its mix of clients and today’s economy, said Dayton Runkle, president of One Good Meal’s executive board.

Runkle said there’s usually a $30,000 gap in funds annually that it tries to make up with donations or fundraisers.

He said there’s a small group of volunteers and sponsors and it needs to expand its base. It’s looking for groups to sponsor a route or some other kind of fundraiser.

“We’ve always been a poor group,” Runkle said.

Hy-Vee Store Director Randy Summerville said the agency is in arrears by $18,000. He said the store isn’t planning to stop deliveries but it needed to ask the agency to find a way to keep up its account.

Hy-Vee provides the meals below cost, without a price increase since 2000, he said.

“We try to take care of them and help the best we can,” Summerville said.

The agency is stepping up efforts to find donors, McArthur said, and is particularly seeking ongoing relationships with more businesses.

She said she is scheduling meetings with leaders from the Chamber of Commerce and other groups to solicit advice or leads.

During the past 18 years, McArthur’s mother, who had founded the service, sometimes would use her personal credit card to cover balances.

McArthur, who is retired, said she can’t afford such stop-gap measures and the small organization wants to establish a firm financial base.

McArthur does not draw a salary. One Good Meal has a low overhead of about 7 percent with nearly all of the donations going to buy food, she said. Volunteers bake desserts and deliveries are made by volunteers.

The group does hold some fundraisers of its own, but with a small, unpaid staff it can’t organize many, she said.

“We are actually looking, begging and groveling for corporate sponsors,” McArthur said.

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