The WIN Team

The Westerly Innovations Network

Project 2003:

M.O.W.E.R.

                 Project M.O.W.E.R.—Meals on Wheels Efficiency Restoration was designed to help the ailing Meals on Wheels program in our area.  It was also the first community service project the WIN team decided to tackle.

                 A local news article first brought our attention to this topic.  The article stated that the food is less nutritious than before Meals on Wheels (MOW) was turned over to the state, that the meals have become more expensive, and that the volunteers feel embarrassed to deliver the food because the food quality was below par.  In addition, two-thirds of the volunteers have quit, creating a shortage of volunteers to deliver the food, and this is on top of inefficient meal delivery routes.  Also, the number of recipients are dropping and the system is becoming more and more centered in Providence, in contrast to the local, more personal system that was in place before.

                 We created surveys and polled some of the recipients and volunteers of MOW.  These sources led us to believe some of the earlier charges false.  For example, the recipients still pay the same amount per meal, and that the food quality is good and has been improving.  However, this does not counterbalance the shortage of volunteers, and most of our project worked towards raising awareness for MOW.

                 We outlined our project goal as thus: How might we find a more efficient way of recruiting volunteers so more volunteers will join the program to deliver the meals and to provide better services to the recipients before April, 2003?

                 We collected more information by interviewing key people in the MOW system.  We interviewed Mr. Michael Lally, the CEO of the Westerly Hospital, which used to do the meals, Mrs. Bonnie Shawn, the former MOW coordinator for Westerly, and Mrs. Sandy Centazzo, CEO of MOW RI.  Each gave slightly different opinions of the MOW program and how we could help it.  However, the bottom line was to get more volunteers.

                 We began an awareness campaign to help get more volunteers for MOW.  We distributed 1,500 2003 scenic calendars with messages to promote MOW throughout our town.  Also, we went on a delivery route with a volunteer and created our own Thanksgiving and Christmas deliveries to recipients.  We had a booth at the annual “Westerly Is Learning” and ran a ‘mini-carnival’ to promote MOW.  Finally, we made a presentation to the town council to raise awareness.

                 We were able to increase volunteers by 100% through our project, and in June 2003 we won 2nd place for our project in the junior division of the CMPS ICC at UConn.

Westerly Innovations Network

WIN team activities

Last Update: July 8, 2009

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