Providing nutritious meals and support to the communities of Lafayette, Louisville, Erie and Superior since 1972 – Boulder Daily Camera
Lark Rambo was not quite prepared for the demands of her role when she hired as the Executive Director of the Coal Creek Meals on Wheels program.
It wasn’t that she wasn’t ready to meet the needs of the many people who depend on the association for nutritious daily meals and other support services; it was not that she was not invested in the service of a large community that includes Lafayette, Louisville, Superior and Erie. What she wasn’t ready for was a global pandemic that would change the way every nonprofit ran its operations.
Lark Rambo began his post at CCMOW in August 2019, just months before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.
âIt was a crazy race, for sure. Fortunately, the organization is such a strong community organization and I walked into something wonderful, âRambo recalls with a laugh. âWe had to change everything, but honestly a lot of those changes were for the better. Hopefully they will stick around. It has been so rewarding and such a desperately needed service for so many people in these difficult times. “
Although the Coal Creek Meals on Wheels organization has had to change the way it does business in several ways, the COVID pandemic has not changed the way it has fulfilled the mission that has driven the nonprofit organization since. 1972. As CCMOW prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the nonprofit remains committed to connecting the community with food and camaraderie. The organization remains committed to keeping the elderly and other people in need connected to essential services and to their homes.
âWe provide services so that people can stay in their homes. It’s incredibly expensive to get into an assisted living or nursing home, âshe said. âWe want to provide the services that they cannot do on their own. “
They accomplish this mission through a variety of services that include home delivered meals, as well as an onsite program called the Coal Creek CafÃ©. During normal hours from Monday to Friday, the elderly have the opportunity to dine at the home of the association, a service that offers food as well as human contact. These two services are essential for those facing unprecedented times, Rambo says.
âOur on-site program has been in place since 2015, and it is part of a partnership with Lafayette Senior Services. It has become so important to our organization and the people we serve, now more than ever, âsaid Rambo. âWe are still in a pandemic. Many of our clients are so isolated. Often times, the driver who delivers their meals is the only person they see every day. We have found customers in distress; we had to call emergency services. It’s really important for so many members of our community to have this regular contact.
Although the elderly population of eastern Boulder County make up an important part of the community served by Coal Creek, the larger purpose of the nonprofit is not limited by age, income or background. Rambo is quick to note that the organization’s wide range of services – from meal delivery to their Project Homecoming service for people returning home after a hospital stay – are available to anyone who has them. need.
While Rambo wasn’t expecting the pandemic, she saw how much it spurred the need for Coal Creek’s unique blend of services. Demand has skyrocketed since March 2020, she noted, but luckily, the nonprofit infrastructure of dedicated staff and flexible resources built up over five decades has met the challenges of the moment. While she noted that the organization can always use donations and support, she is confident in Coal Creek Meals on Wheel’s ability to meet the challenges of the future.
âWe were able to continue to provide services throughout the pandemic. We were in a unique positionâ¦ We almost doubled our normal meals in those first few months. We went from 150 meals a day to over 200, âsaid Rambo. âIt took us a bit to ramp up in the midst of the shortagesâ¦ but we were able to keep going, and we will be able to keep doing it. “
For more information or to contribute to Coal Creek Meals on Wheels, log on to www.coalcreekmow.org.
Photos courtesy of Coal Creek Meals on Wheels