Santa Cruz County, CA — Community Bridges is excited to announce that Bay Federal Credit Union raised more than $8,000 for Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County during its annual Meals on Wheels Coin Drive this year.
Bay Federal Credit Union staff and members have impressively raised roughly $75,000 for Meals on Wheels programs over the past 18 years. This year’s total of $8,173.52 raised for Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County, a program of Community Bridges, is more than double what the organization has raised in previous years.
“Bay Federal Credit Union has been a wonderful partner over the past 18 years,” Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County Program Director Lisa Berkowitz said. “Dedicated credit union staff have made the Coin Drive a success ensuring the essential delivery of thousands of meals to Santa Cruz seniors in need”
Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County, first established in 1976, provides weekly services to approximately 700 older adults living in Santa Cruz County. At least 525 of those older adults receive meals delivered to their homes. The other 175 older adults enjoy meals at four dining sites located throughout the county and at Elderday Adult Day Health Care, which is also operated by Community Bridges.
Last year, Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County distributed roughly 250,000 meals to older adults, many of them homebound and living below the poverty line.
And the need for Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County’s services has arguably never been greater. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation Health News report highlighted new alarming data that the rate of older Californians dying of malnutrition has drastically accelerated since 2018.
According to the report, deaths attributed to malnutrition more than doubled, from about 650 in 2018 to roughly 1,400 in 2022, according to preliminary death certificate data from the California Department of Public Health. The same trend occurred nationwide, with malnutrition deaths more than doubling, from about 9,300 deaths in 2018 to roughly 20,500 in 2022, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At the same time, food costs for Meals on Wheels have increased 16% over the past year, and fuel costs have increased 39%. These increases hit Meals on Wheels especially hard, as well as the low-income older adults we serve, and make fund raising initiatives such as Bay Federal Credit Union’s annual Coin Drive all the more essential.
Since 2006, Coin Drive proceeds have allowed Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County to deliver 1,000 meals each year to local older adults. Credit union employees also bring holiday cheer to local older adults by volunteering on delivery routes on Thanksgiving Day.
About Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County
Since 1976, Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County, a program of Community Bridges, has served more than 10 million meals to local older adults in need. Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County serves 1,600 older adults in need each year with nutritious meals and caring human contact. The tireless work of this program—supported by a dedicated army of volunteers—allows thousands of Santa Cruz County residents to remain healthy, safe, and independent in their own homes.
About Community Bridges
Community Bridges envisions a thriving community where every person has the opportunity to unleash their full potential. Together, our family of programs delivers essential services, provides equitable access to resources, and advocates for health and dignity across every stage of life. To learn more, please visit www.communitybridges.org.