Supplemental Information about Meals on Wheels Orange County
1. What programs does Meals on Wheels Orange County provide and what is Meals on Wheels Orange County’s financial accountability and transparency for them?
Community Meals on Wheels Orange County, Inc., (“Meals on Wheels Orange County”) is a 501(c)(3) California nonprofit corporation that has been providing meals and other supportive services to seniors in central and north Orange County for 50 years. Meals on Wheels Orange County’s funding is derived, in part, from government reimbursement contracts, as well as from earned income attained through care services and commercial food contracts, and from nonprofit fundraising activities. All programs meet contractual requirements. Meals on Wheels Orange County is audited annually by public accountants, White Nelson Diehl Evans. Financial reports are publicly available on Meals on Wheels Orange County’s website at https://www.mealsonwheelsoc.org/about/financials/.
2. How does Meals on Wheels Orange County allocate its government funding for Older Americans Act programs?
Consistent with Meals on Wheels Orange County’s contract for Older Americans Act programs with the County of Orange Office on Aging, Meals on Wheels Orange County targets people age 60 and older across its service area who have the greatest economic need and social need, with particular attention to low-income minority individuals; have severe disabilities; have limited English-speaking ability; and/or have Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders, and their caregivers. Meals on Wheels Orange County uses a standardized, approved assessment to determine eligibility and priority for Home Delivered Meals. Meals on Wheels Orange County meets contractual requirements for use of those funds and is audited annually by the Office on Aging.
Meals on Wheels Orange County also has Community Development Block Grant contracts with several cities that provide supplemental funds for food costs associated with the Congregate (group settings) and/or Home Delivered Meal programs. Meals on Wheels Orange County meets contractual requirements for use of those funds and is audited annually by those cities. Additionally, cities may elect to provide general funds or in-kind support for the Congregate and Home Delivered programs to stabilize or increase government service levels. Meals on Wheels Orange County also fundraises to supplement government funding.
Meals on Wheels Orange County takes targeting requirements, contractual funding agreements, and supplemental support from cities into account when determining service levels provided with government funding. This has become increasingly challenging since 2010 when federal funding levels were frozen without providing increases for inflation or for the growing number of seniors. Additionally, Meals on Wheels Orange County’s government funding has decreased in its service area due to increases in the number of seniors in other parts of the County.
3. How does Meals on Wheels Orange County allocate funds for Nutrition Transportation to Congregate Lunch Centers?
Meals on Wheels Orange County received responsibility for administering Older Americans Act Nutrition Transportation in 2011, at which time Meals on Wheels Orange County contacted cities in its service area to determine their interest in participating in the program. Those cities who elected to contract with Meals on Wheels Orange County receive funds to provide transportation in accordance with program requirements. Any city not active in the program may contact Meals on Wheels Orange County if interested in participating.
4. How does Meals on Wheels Orange County determine eligibility for Home Delivered Meals and associated wait lists?
Meals on Wheels Orange County’s Social Services department conducts a standardized telephone interview of individuals requesting services, which includes determining eligibility and assessing nutritional risk. Eligible persons age 60+ who are rated as high nutritional risk are identified as Priority 1 and advanced to an in-home assessment. Meals on Wheels Orange County immediately adds them to the program upon confirmation of eligibility. The department also determines when to provide emergency meals.
Older adults, age 60+ identified as Priority 2 have moderate nutritional risk are included on an interest list (wait list) during periods of limited funding. Additionally, these older adults are given referrals to community resources. If eligible, they are added to the program as funding is available. Individuals on the interest list are asked to call back for reassessment if their situation changes.
To ensure individuals with the highest needs are served on an-ongoing basis, Meals on Wheels Orange County reassesses clients quarterly. If they no longer have qualifying needs, their participation in the program is concluded, and they are referred to other community resources.
Given the age and frailty of the population served by Meals on Wheels Orange County, clients periodically pass away due to various changes in their health status. Similarly, it is possible for a senior with moderate nutritional risk on the interest list to pass away from a variety of causes.
5. Does Meals on Wheels Orange County create Home Delivered Meal wait lists for fundraising purposes?
There is more demand for the Home Delivered Meals program than government funds support, and therefore clients are prioritized based on need, as described above. Individuals assessed as Priority 2 are added to an interest list which may also be referred to as a wait list. Such lists are never created for the purpose of fundraising. Meals on Wheels Orange County actively communicates about the number of seniors waiting for services so that prospective donors are aware of unmet needs and can support the program as they may choose.
6. How does Meals on Wheels Orange County help seniors who are not eligible for the Home Delivered Meals program or when interest exceeds capacity?
Individuals of any age who are not eligible for the Home Delivered Meals program or who are added to the interest list are provided referrals to food banks and other community resources.
On a broader bases, Meals on Wheels Orange County is taking action on hunger in Orange County through its collaborative involvement in various initiatives. As a member of the Leadership Council for the OC Strategic Plan for Aging, Meals on Wheels Orange County provides staff support in several areas impacting seniors, including co-chairing the Senior Food Security initiative.
Meals on Wheels Orange County is a member of Meals on Wheels California, for which Meals on Wheels Orange County’s CEO serves as president, and a member of Meals on Wheels America. Meals on Wheels Orange County also advocates for at-risk seniors in the County through engagement at the city , state and national level. Further, Meals on Wheels Orange County’s CEO is on the Board of Directors for the National Associations for Nutrition and Aging Services Providers, which advocates on behalf of seniors eligible for Older Americans Act programs and other government programs that help older adults.
7. How does Meals on Wheels Orange County determine employee compensation?
Meals on Wheels Orange County is committed to attracting and retaining qualified employees at all levels of the organization. The organization conducts periodic compensation surveys to ensure its pay levels and practices are appropriate and competitive. Meals on Wheels Orange County evaluates compensation in the nonprofit sector for many of its positions, also taking into account market rates for positions that are industry or skill-specific, such as food services or licensed positions. Additionally, turnover rates and length of time to fill a position are considered when setting compensation ranges.
Similar factors, including relevant salary surveys, are reviewed and considered by the Board of Directors for executive compensation. The Board annually approves the compensation of executive management, which is disclosed on the agency’s public financial statements. Additionally, a portion of the target pay for management positions may be at-risk and therefore variable. The variable portion, also referred to as bonus, is based on achievement of approved goals designed to improve quality, efficiency and/or long-term sustainability. Consistent with government requirements, Meals on Wheels Orange County does not submit variable compensation for reimbursement with government funds.
8. What are Meals on Wheels Orange County’s workplace harassment policies?
Meals on Wheels Orange County is committed to providing a safe and harassment-free workplace for all of its employees. Any and all concerns reported to the Human Resources Department are fully investigated as outlined in Meals on Wheels Orange County’s Policy Against Unlawful Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation. Additionally, Meals on Wheels Orange County’s employees receive sexual harassment training as required by law.
Meals on Wheels Orange County also contracts with an external firm, Lighthouse Services, to provide a hotline for any individual to report concerns anonymously. All such concerns are investigated and addressed as appropriate.
To support its work force, Meals on Wheels Orange County’s Human Resources department has bi-lingual (English/Spanish) staff. Meals on Wheels Orange County’s Employee Handbook and related communications are provided in English and Spanish, and meetings with employees regarding Human Resources matters are offered in English and Spanish. Meals on Wheels Orange County supports no preferential or discriminatory treatment of staff with limited English abilities.
9. What is Meals on Wheels Orange County’s policy about gifts from vendors or others?
It is Meals on Wheels Orange County’s policy that employees may not request or accept any gift, gratuity, loan, bonus, tip, payment, bequest, inheritance, or advance of money from any customer, client, participant, or supplier without the express written authorization of the President. Meals on Wheels Orange County management and Board may solicit donations from vendors and other corporations for approved purposes. Meals on Wheels Orange County has instituted a practice of notifying vendors annually about its gift and sponsorship solicitation policies.
10. How does Meals on Wheels Orange County handle meal breaks for staff?
Meals on Wheels Orange County administers rest periods and meal breaks as required by California State law. For instance, all hourly employees working more than 6 hours in a day are required to take a meal break by the 5th hour of work, regardless of the position they hold.
11. How does Meals on Wheels Orange County obtain feedback from staff who have voluntarily resigned?
Employees voluntarily resigning from the company are invited to complete an exit interview form and review it with the Human Resources department before they leave. Any concerns are reviewed, investigated and addressed as deemed appropriate and as required by California State law.