Mortgage free!

To the Editor,

On December 18, 2015, a generous local donor offered to help pay off Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County’s $595,000 outstanding mortgage by providing a matching grant of up to $300,000. The deadline was March 31, 2016. At the outset, the match was not to be made known to the community in any sort of mass mailing or media event, instead, the board and staff were to be “boots on the ground” and raise the money through word of mouth and personal donations. They called up friends, reached out to acquaintances and gave from their own bank accounts.

They did this because they know that our fresh, homemade, medically-tailored meals make a difference in the well-being of our homebound and senior neighbors.

We are beyond pleased to announce that thanks to a generous community, staff and board, all of whom went above and beyond in their support of Meals On Wheels, we are now mortgage free!

Why is this significant? Because the amount of money we were paying in interest was a detriment. Our mission remains to serve the senior, disabled and homebound residents of our community. Now that the mortgage – which has been weighing heavily on us since 2011 – is paid off, we have room in our budget to feed more of our homebound neighbors.

We are honored to serve Sheboygan County’s elderly and disabled population. It is a reflection of our community’s core values and we stand behind our community’s excellent agricultural and manufacturing expertise. That is why we opened a carefully designed facility in 2012 that not only had the ability to make medicallytailored meals from scratch, but could also safely utilize locally grown and sourced fruits and vegetables. We became the first meal delivery program in the country to do this, and the food tastes great!

Being mortgage free means that we can now direct dollars to additional growth and continue reducing food insecurity among an aging population. Not everyone has the ability to obtain or prepare the correct nutritional food. We can help. We recognize that there are many more people in our community that need healthy and delicious medically-tailored, home-delivered meals in order to maintain or improve health, and to remain safely and independently in their own homes. Whether it’s to recover from a recent hospital visit, or to help long-term, we are here to feed our neighbors.

As a result of this campaign, at least half a dozen individuals have now included Meals On Wheels in their estate planning. The long-term security in feeding our neighbors is there. Now, please help send them our way.

In the next 105 days we will put extra effort into seeking out those in need in our community. Won’t you please help?

This is not a fundraising effort – we lose money on every meal – instead, this is about carrying out the basic tenet of reaching out to feed those who need proper nutrition. A simple slice of bread is not enough to sustain a person.

To give the community an idea as to what Meals On Wheels offers and what our food is like, we will host an open house 1-4 p.m. Tuesday, May 24. Call to make a reservation.

In the meantime, please consider reaching out to us at www.freshmealsonwheels.org or calling 920-451-7011. Signing up friends or family members for meals is easy – and it enables independent living.

Make a difference in someone’s life and refer him or her to Meals On Wheels today.

Sincerely, Kelly Heyn, CEO Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County

P.S. We will be sending the mortgage out in grand style. See us in the Brat Days parade and follow us on Facebook for details as they become available.

Lost pensions

To the Editor,

I am writing in support of the overturn of the Kline-Miller Bill #83 MPRA that was slipped through Congress by being attached to bills that were designated to avoid a government shutdown.

This bill (#83) was to “reform” with MPRA, cutting pension benefits for Central States retirees up to 70% per month. This bill (#83) also destroys the “ERISA” Act of 1974. The ERSA Act was enacted to provide protection and backup when company pension funds could not fulfill their pension promises to the retiree members.

I, and our Sheboygan County Democratic Members, support the passage of the amendments to stop other business abuses – their supposed inability to fulfill the pension’s obligations, even though some of these same companies award huge bonuses to their CEO’s, claim business property as personal instead of selling said property to meet pension promises, and/or claim bankruptcy for the company.

The Central State Pension workers and retirees accepted jobs where these retirement plans were part of their employment contracts or agreements and part of their compensation package. This issue is not union or political. These current and future retirees have been working for these businesses with the understanding that they had the security of their pension promises. Losing this promised security for future workers, and the current retirees, greatly affects their ability to have sufficient income to pay their on-going living expenses and any debt they still have after retirement. To deprive these retirees of 70% of their income at a time when expenses will go up (especially health care) and income is very fixed, breaks a promise that they earned with all the work they have done for the business employer. This is not what America stands for.

Data suggests that there are 1500 of these types of pension funds. There are 200 of them in danger of failure. There are 10.4 million workers and retirees involved in these pensions. We are suggesting that the funds needed to backup these failed pensions through the ERISA Act of 1974 can be found by increasing the tax rates on higher incomes.

The serious problems with these pensions, forecast pension problems for all other Americans, particularly our children and grandchildren. Retirement pensions, including the investments workers have put into Social Security, cannot be privatized, managed by private agents, or borrowed against in the future. Wall Street markets have not provided reliable to maintain and protect our country’s workers’ pension funds.

Also, Congress must stop discriminating against future generations by raising the retirement age. Instead, caps on Social Security contributions, based on higher wages/salary levels, should be removed to that all Americans pay into the system fairly. U.S. workers have contributed to this system and all higher income must contribute their fair share so that Social Security remains fully funded.

Respectfully,

Anita Klein, Chair Sheboygan County Democratic Party


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