When Kansans complete their state income tax returns, they have an opportunity to help ensure their elderly neighbors continue to receive warm, nutritious meals through Meals on Wheels programs.
In 2009, nearly $138,000 was donated to the Kansas Meals on Wheels Fund through the income tax check-off option. Kansas Department of Aging distributed funds to local senior nutrition programs depending on the number of meals served by each program.
“Those funds helped fill a gap that could have otherwise crippled many meal services across the state because of the state’s budget constraints,” Secretary of Kansas Department on Aging Martin Kennedy said. “Federal stimulus funds were used to supplant some of the state support, but the stimulus dollars will run out this year, so the check-off contributions are even more important.”
Of the nearly 3.4 million meals served last year, more than 69,000 were made possible by stimulus funds, and those additional meals could be in jeopardy when the stimulus funds run out.
The meals help the elderly and people with disabilities remain independent and living at home, Kennedy said. The check-off is a simple way to make a difference in the lives of Kansans in need and prevent them from having to move to more expensive institutionalized care.
Of those receiving home-delivered meals, 72 percent are 75 years old or older, 68 percent are women, and more than 50 percent live alone.
Individuals receiving a state income tax refund can indicate in the designated space on the tax form an amount of their refund they would like to contribute to the Meals on Wheels program. Contributions may range from $1 to the entirety of a person’s refund.
Those who owe state taxes can also contribute by indicating the amount they want to donate in the designated space and writing a check for the tax balance due plus the amount contributed to the Senior Citizens Meals on Wheels Contribution Program.
There are 11 Area Agency on Aging areas. North Central-Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging of Manhattan serves Marion County. In 2009, the agency provided 243,323 meals to those in their service area.