Updated November 15, 2022
Meals on Wheels Diablo Region’s staff have been working remotely since a fire on September 24th forced them out of their building in Walnut Creek. Thanks to the generosity of BPM-certified public accountants, the staff will now have temporary office space at 2001 North Main Street, Suite 300. “We are grateful for the outpouring of support from the community, both from individuals and businesses. The space offered by BPM allows our staff to work together again,” says Caitlin Sly. “Staff has been working from home and for those who couldn’t, Office Evolution has already provided short-term temporary workspace.”
According to Sly, the fire and the dislocation it caused have been stressful, but the staff and volunteers are resilient. “We are all proud that no client missed a meal or service. It is the commitment to our mission that drives us to ensure seniors are nourished and safe.” MOW Diablo Region’s services grew exponentially during the pandemic. The 50% increase in demand the organization experienced since 2020 has not shown any signs of decreasing because seniors are the fastest-growing segment of the population in the County. Volunteers are always needed, and financial support is welcome. A special fire fund has been set up to help with the unforeseen expenses the organization will experience as a result of the fire.
On Saturday evening, September 24th, Meals on Wheels Diablo Region had a fire in its Walnut Creek office, suspected to be caused by a faulty light panel. The offices are closed while the organization assesses smoke, water, and other damage, but according to Caitlin Sly, Executive Director, meal deliveries will not be impacted by the fire, “Since our meals are prepared and packaged at an off-site kitchen, our volunteers will pick up meals at our other pick-up sites around the County. We can ensure that all clients will receive their meals.”
Supportive services like Fall Prevention, exercise classes, Friendly Visitors, Care Management, will also continue uninterrupted.
The fire was contained in a second-floor storage room and any structural damage appears minor, but staff will not be returning to the building for six to twelve months during repairs. “We have had an outpouring from the business community and other nonprofits offering us temporary office space, and we will keep the community updated, but some staff will continue to work remotely from home,” adds Sly. “During Covid, most of our staff were able to work from home without any disruption to services, in fact, no client ever missed a meal. Our staff and volunteers are resilient.”
How you can help
We still need volunteers! We are not in our main office, but we still need volunteers to deliver meals and become Friendly Callers, Visitors, and Helpers. Volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization, and we need you now more than ever to help us continue to deliver to our seniors. Volunteer online or contact Lee Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org, 925.954.8736.
We appreciate the offers we received for donations of items; however, currently, we have no storage space for donations of furniture or other office supplies.
If you would like to help us as we incur additional expenses due to the fire, please make a donation in any amount to the MOW Diablo Region Fire Fund.
“We are so grateful for the offers to help,” says Sly. “The community recognizes the important service we provide to vulnerable seniors. Without MOW Diablo Region many seniors would go hungry, but we will continue to deliver in spite of this setback.”
When a fire ripped through a storage room and damaged its Walnut Creek headquarters on Saturday, September 24th, Meals on Wheels Diablo Region never missed a beat. Despite the building being completely inoperable, meal deliveries and other essential services that keep seniors nourished and safe at home continued as usual Monday morning.
MOW Diablo Region will not be able to return to the building for at least six months to a year. While seniors have not felt the impact of the fire, the staff and volunteers have had to make some major adjustments. “Currently, our entire staff is working remotely,” says Caitlin Sly, Executive Director of MOW Diablo Region, “We have an incredibly resourceful and resilient staff and volunteers that always put our mission of serving older adults first.”
The organization is working to secure temporary office space for its staff while repairs are being done. “It is a difficult time for seniors, some have not bounced back from Covid and now they are struggling due to the high cost of gas and food,” say Sly. “We continue to see more demand for our services and the fire has caused unanticipated expenses that make our work even more challenging. No matter what, we are committed to being there for our vulnerable elders.”
MOW Diablo Region needs more volunteers to keep up with the growing demand, and donations to help them deliver meals and services to the increasing number of older adults who turn to them for assistance. “For many people, we are the safety net,” says Sly. “Without MOW Diablo Region, our clients would go hungry. We hope the community, who has been so generous in the past will help us by donating to our Fire Fund to help us recover.”