By Mark Ambrogi
Meals on Wheels of Hamilton County is hoping some smooth dance moves will translate into some needed funds.
The nonprofit’s Dancing With Our Stars will be held 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 7 at the 502 East Event Centre, Carmel. St. Vincent and Medxcel are the presenting sponsors for the group’s largest fundraiser. Beth Gehlhausen, the nonprofit’s executive director, said the goal this year is to raise $65,000, well above last year’s total of $25,000.
“That’s a huge leap, but we had some things happen that impacted participants being able to attend due to two of our dancers not being able to continue on due to some health issues,” Gehlhausen said.
Over the past year, Gehlhausen said Meals on Wheels served approximately 166 people a month, which equals out to more than 4,400 meals that go through Hamilton County.
The fundraiser will benefit the Sponsor a Senior program, helping seniors that need financial assistance to pay for the meals.
“That program saw a tremendous growth between 2015 and 2016 to the tune of about 112 percent,” Gehlhausen said.
Gehlhausen said the nonprofit budgeted $34,000 to pay for those meals and it actually it cost nearly $71,000.
“Last year, for example, a little over 50 percent the people we served fully paid for their meals,” Gehlhausen said. “The other 50 percent were on our Sponsor a Senior program or had funding through CICOA (Central Indiana Council on Aging). Our concern is we are going to see more people that have need. We’re concerned that if this growth continues we might not be able to serve everyone all at once and we might have to go to a waiting list. Our board is adamant about not wanting to do that. We have to raise more money to keep with that level of growth. We want them to be able to continue to live in their homes and get hot meals Monday through Friday. Obviously, the cost of staying in your own home is much cheaper than going into a facility.”
Meals on Wheels delivers Monday through Friday.
A donation of $35 pays for someone to get two meals a day (Monday through Friday) and $145 for two meals per day for a month.
For more, visit mealsonwheelshc.org.
Celebrity dancers: Diana Weber, F.C. Tucker, Fishers; Charlie Smelley, Medxcel FM, Carmel; Dena Aleksa, Community Health, Fishers; Doug Johnson, MISO Energy, Indianapolis; Amy Fuson-Massillamany, Canteen, Fishers; Jim Wolf, Elements Wealth Management, Fishers; Nyla Wolf, Wolfie Grill/Italian House owner, Noblesville; Alyson Avooske, Meridian Medical Health Services, Noblesville; Jeff Tagesser, Quarles & Brady LLP, Westfield; JoEtta Sanich, retired nurse, Carmel and David Dellen, Harley Davidson of Indianapolis, Indianapolis.
The dancers are paired with professional dancers from several different studios.