Monday, October 27, 2008

Commentary by Lifecare Alliance's Chuck Gehring.

Monday afternoon guest on Bexley Public Radio was Chuck Gehring, president and CEO of Lifecare Alliance. Chuck was invited to discuss the social service programs of Lifecare Alliance and to comment on his estimate of how the Wall Street turmoil will impact on social service agencies like Lifecare Alliance.

Chuck began by describing the core programs of Lifecare Alliance. These core programs are known as Meals on Wheels, Visiting Nurses and Help at Home.

To implement these core programs Lifecare Alliance operates twenty-two meal centers and twelve walk-in health centers in central Ohio.

Many, but far from all, of the individuals in the client populations served by all of the Lifecare Alliance programs are lower income, chronically ill and homebound.

Meals on Wheels serves six thousand meals a day from Lifecare Alliance’s West Mound Street location.

During weekdays, seventy percent of the meals are delivered by volunteers. On the weekend, one hundred percent of the meals are delivered by volunteers.

The six thousand meals are delivered on one hundred twenty-five routes throughout Franklin and Madison counties.

The Lifecare Alliance Meals on Wheels program is among the five largest home meal services in the U.S. The Lifecare Alliance meal program is one of only a few nationwide that provides weekend delivery of meals.

Lifecare Alliance also has specialty meal programs such as Kosher Senior Meals through a program at the Jewish Community Center of Central Ohio. Another specialty meal program uses a local Asian restaurant to provide meals appealing to the palates of Asian residents.

Lifecare Alliance was founded in Columbus 110 years ago. Its founders met at the residence at 1000 Bryden Road. Catherine Nelson Black and her husband Samuel Black, Columbus mayor, were active in the founding of this organization. The original social and health problems addressed by the organization were flooding in Columbus, tuberculosis, and high infant mortality rates.

Impact of Wall Street turmoil.

Impact on Operational Expenses

Expenses have increased for Lifecare Alliance. Milk and gasoline are two examples.

Gasoline costs have risen. Cost of gas for 2008 will exceed the prior year budget by $200,000. The cost of milk provided in meals has increased by forty-two percent.

Impact on Donations

Donations will be effected by the Wall Street collapse. Lifecare Alliance receives donations of appreciated stock. Such gifts provide donors with “double bumps” in terms of income tax. No capital gain tax is due on the gift and the donor can deduct the appreciated value of the stock if the donor itemizes charitable deductions.

The present conditions on Wall Street reduce the total financial value of gifts of appreciated stock to donors.

WCRX Editorial Collective Note: This is one of a continuing series of program features where Bexley Public Radio reports the views of community leaders on the significance of the Wall Street financial collapse.

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Copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Foundation.

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