Meals on Wheels Breaks Ground on $41.5 Million Kitchen and Food Production Facility.
On July 25, under sunny skies, an audience of 100 guests including supporters to our capital campaign, elected officials, project team partners, and news media, joined us in celebrating a milestone in Meals on Wheels San Francisco’s (MOWSF) near 50-year history -- breaking ground to begin building our new state-of-the-art kitchen and food production facility.
Guests poured into an open-sided tent and viewed images on easels of the new kitchen. For many supporters who have generously donated to the 50th Anniversary Campaign to build the new kitchen, it was their first time to see what the new facility would look like when completed.
MOWSF CEO & Executive Director, Ashley McCumber, warmed up the crowd, asking them to joyously shout three times “celebrate, celebrate, CELEBRATE” while Kool & the Gang’s iconic song “Celebrate” played over the sound system. It was, after all, a day of celebration, a day marking a chapter in our history signifying our pivotal role in the community as providers of home-delivered meals for aging adults who are struggling with food insecurity and loneliness in SF.
“Today, we are absolutely celebrating five decades of service here in San Francisco. We’re celebrating a mission that started with a handful of people who knew and recognized they had neighbors who needed some help; elderly folks who needed some food and were lonely,” explained Ashley McCumber. “They started volunteering to cook food and that morphed into our organization that today is one of the largest meal programs in the country.”
Photos courtesy: Constanza Hevia H.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed took the stage, stylishly dressed in a turquoise-colored suit that matched one of our brand colors. She spoke passionately about how Meals on Wheels supported her grandmother not just with meals, but with kindness, and how the drivers always asked her how she was doing when they delivered her a meal. Mayor Breed mentioned how MOWSF has been pushing the envelope doing great work for so many years and how she is looking forward to cutting the ribbon when we open the kitchen late next year.
MOWSF Board member and 50th Anniversary Capital Campaign co-chair, José Allen, eloquently thanked the early supporters to the campaign which he referred to as “first responders” who jumped in to start the campaign. Outgoing Board Chair and Capital Campaign co-chair, Russ Flynn, shared similar praise focusing his thanks to the corporations and foundations who have joined us in the effort to build the $41.5 million kitchen and food production facility.
“Russ and I are proud to be a part of this vital project.” José announced to the crowd. “Thank each of you for your support of Meals on Wheels. Raising nearly $42 million for this project requires extensive generosity from many, many supporters. Luckily we have been successful, thanks to you, in raising the funds necessary to move forward and we are now at 80 percent of our fundraising goal.”
Ashley closed the ceremony with a reminder to the audience.
“We’re celebrating much more than just the construction of a new building, we’re celebrating and embracing our responsibility to amplify the voice of older adults in the City and to make San Francisco all it can be for them. We believe:
No senior, in fact, no person, should ever go hungry in their hometown or without the resources and support they need to thrive.
No senior should be invisible or alone.
All seniors have the right to live in their community neighborhoods that they helped build and raise families in.
And, all seniors have the right to self-determination and to live with dignity.
I want to share my gratitude to all of you who have taken the extra step in supporting this project and for supporting our commitment to serving the needs of seniors in San Francisco for decades to come.”
One of the many heart-warming moments during the celebration was when one of our senior meal recipients, a 74-year-old resident, shook hands and chatted with the mayor, and posed for some pictures. Carolyn has been with MOWSF for almost 10 years and attributes her ability to live independently to being on our program.
Ashley invited the mayor and other dignitaries, donned with MOWSF branded lime green hard hats, for the signature shovel-flip-of-the-dirt photo shot signifying the official start of building a facility that will nourish future generations of seniors for decades to come. As the ceremony closed, guests were treated to a take-away lunch packaged in a branded, commemorative tote – a nod to our meal delivery mission.
The new Meals on Wheels San Francisco kitchen and food production facility is expected to open in Q4 of 2020.
THANK YOU SUPPORTERS TO THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY CAPITAL CAMPAIGN