ribbon cuttingCity of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown and Tara A. Ellis, CEO and President of Meals on Wheels for WNY, unveiled a new 450-kw generator system in a ribbon cutting and generator test ceremony in South Buffalo. The generator system is the result of more than three years of planning, fundraising and implementation and will fully power the 24,000 square foot commissary in the event of an emergency that impacts power in the area.

“We’re thrilled to have this generator system in place and fully functional,” Tara A. Ellis, CEO and President, Meals on Wheels for WNY, said.  “Not only does it give us another layer of security in serving our frail, vulnerable clients, but it also enables us to be a true community partner in the event of an emergency – whether that is an isolated incident or one with region-wide impact.”

Meals on Wheels for WNY is the food production partner in the Emergency Preparedness Partnership, along with the American Red Cross, Bateman Senior Meals, the Food Bank of WNY, the City of Buffalo, and Erie County.  After the original Meals on Wheels commissary (built in 1901 and retrofitted for Meals on Wheels in 1970) lost power during the October Storm of 2006, the current Meals on Wheels commissary was constructed in 2009. One of the key features of this commissary would be its ability to operate in the event of a power failure. Three 150-kw, natural gas fed generators were purchased and installed to supply power to the commissary during these emergency situations.

The $216,735 project was made possible in large part due to the generous support of: the City of Buffalo, Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield of WNY, The Baird Foundation, the Cameron and Jane Baird Foundation, the Josephine Goodyear Foundation, the Marks Family Foundation, National Fuel, and The Frank G. Raichle Foundation.

Donations were also received from AAA of Western and Central NY, the Robert D. Flickinger Charitable Foundation, Peter B. & Genevieve R. Flickinger Foundation, the Seymour H. Knox Foundation, United Steelworkers (local 593), Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., and individual donors Denise C. Bauer, Tara A. Ellis and Louise C. Janik.

On a daily basis, Meals on Wheels for WNY serves approximately 5,000 meals throughout Erie County – including a two-meal unit (hot lunch, cold dinner) for home-bound clients and a hot lunch for those healthy enough to reach a congregate dining center.

“We must do everything we can to make sure our homebound seniors and others with special needs get the help they need, which is why I’m a proud supporter of Meals on Wheels for WNY,” said Mayor Brown.  “By allocating $132,000 in Community Block Grant Funds for a new on-site generator system, we are not only helping Meals on Wheels in the event of an emergency, but further ensuring that our homebound citizens maintain good health, independence and quality of life.”