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NKY Meals on Wheels Merges with Cincinnati Senior Services


Meals on Wheels Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky announced a merger Tuesday with Cincinnati Area Senior Services (CASS) to form one of the region's largest community-based organizations that provide direct services to seniors.

The merger will serve more than 10,000 seniors annually with about 150 employees and 800 volunteers. The number of meals delivered to seniors’ homes per year is likely to exceed 1.4 million.  

The organizations have chosen to use the name “Meals on Wheels Southwest OH & Northern KY” because of the strong, positive recognition of the Meals on Wheels brand, a news release said. 

The leaders of both nonprofits are confident this action will position the organizations to provide the best possible services for many years, an announcement said.

“This merger makes a bold statement and a promise: working with our communities, our combined organization will tackle the challenges facing us so that every senior enjoys the support and dignity that they deserve,” said Jennifer Steele, who will serve as CEO of the merged organization. 

The larger scale of the organization, along with a $4 million grant last year from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, will fuel innovation to bring about transformational change, the announcement said. The leaders also  believe there is a significant opportunity to eliminate duplication of services between the organizations.  

“This is a great day for seniors and together we are going to do amazing things,” said Tracey Collins, CEO of CASS. She will be chief integration officer for the merged organization. “It just makes sense  with limited funding to join forces and strengthen our services for seniors.” 

The organizations have similarities, including their main missions to help seniors live independently and to thrive. Both organizations have substantial Meals on Wheels programs that provide food and a check on the well-being of seniors. Combined, the organizations have more than 135 years of work for seniors. 

The merged organization plans to retain all existing programs and services and said that no one will lose their jobs. In fact, more job opportunities are expected.

“The merger of Meals on Wheels and CASS makes sense from every angle,” said Michael Murphy, who will be the new board vice-chair. “By coming together, these two strong organizations gain  efficiencies that will allow them to channel their focus on continued growth and innovation. Every  senior, and every person who cares about them, should celebrate this news -- and anticipate many good  things to come as a result.” 

Dan Driehaus, who will be the chair of the new board, emphasized the important role that the delivery drivers play in checking on seniors. “Amazon knows how to deliver a box. We know the importance  of visiting seniors to check on their welfare. We take time to observe their environment. We chat. We listen. We care. For many of our seniors, our meal delivery person might be the only person they  interact with all day. Our meal delivery is simply an extension of our interest in their well-being.”

-Staff report

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