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      No secret "Meals on Wheels is going bankrupt"

      Meals Plus Director Bill Stehl and Activities Director Laura Megown sit down with staff at the senior center to package Valentine's Day brownies.

      Walk into the kitchen of the Quincy Senior Family and Resource Center and you'll find close to 20 staff members whipping up oversized brownies and hand crafting butter cream roses.

      Valentine's Day a day away, the chaos of last minute orders may be on the minds of your average floral and gift shops The staff in this kitchen faces a different kind of chaos. This family and resource center houses the Meals Plus for Seniors that also provides for the Meals on Wheels and dining in program. Both programs are in need in the program's six-county coverage area.

      The Meals Plus for Senior and Meals on Wheels are facing "serious financial jeopardy," Laura Megown, the activities director with the Quincy Senior Center said.

      "It's not a secret that Meals on Wheels is going bankrupt," she said. "With the increasing cost of food and gasoline, for us to get home delivered meals, especially out to people, it's difficult for us to be able to maintain the funds to do that."

      Volunteers are working to raise funds for both programs as well as the dining services at the center.

      "We have to offset the cost, and yes, it's becoming quite difficult for us," Megown said.

      The organization held a Valentine's fundraiser Monday for the Meals Plus program. Anyone could place an order for a corsage or bouquet of made from scratch triple chocolate, triple size brownies, each embellished with a hand-made sweet butter cream rose. The roses were made by Meals Plus staff, including Bill Stehl, the program director and brains behind the fundraiser.

      "All of our flyers say, 'This Valentine's Day, give from the heart' because it helps the Meals on Wheels Program," Stehl said.

      If you missed out on the Valentine's Day fundraiser, "Cook's Night Off" also helps support the Meals on Wheels Program while allowing you to enjoy a meal at a reasonable price. Every third Thursday of the month, Meals Plus for Seniors will offer eat-in, carry-out or drive through meals for $7 each. Those who choose to eat at the Senior Center will receive a complimentary beverage with their meal. All meals include either Fried Chicken or Roast Beef, two generous sides, bread and a sinful dessert. Tickets are available at the Senior Center.

      "It's the fastest drive through in town," Megown said.

      Megown says the Meals Plus for Seniors and Meals on Wheels programs will soon be up for evaluation. There's no telling how long either will be able to operate if they do not receive financial help from the community.