About the Merger
Why are 55 North and Meals on Wheels Southwest OH & Northern KY merging?
Both 55 North and Meals on Wheels Southwest OH & Northern KY provide very important services for area seniors. This new collaboration between the two agencies will benefit seniors and the services they need to remain independent and healthy through innovation and program growth. Additionally, both agencies are fiscally responsible non-profit organizations and continually look for service improvements and efficiencies.
Our community and country faces a crisis in aging, which was exacerbated by the pandemic and recent inflation. Together we will be stronger, with the ability to:
• Expand and further develop innovative solutions that improve the lives of those we serve
• Serve more older adults in better ways
• Scale and expand 55 North’s digital programming into other communities, including Kentucky
• Eliminate duplication of services in the 55 North service area
• Ensure that we have the financial resources to maintain infrastructure and meet regulatory compliances
• Dedicate expertise to key positions and be better prepared to respond to for-profit entities who want to compete with us
• Be better prepared to weather future unforeseen challenges like COVID-19
• Attract and retain the best talent in the field of aging
Meals on Wheels is a national brand. How does that impact this combination?
Meals on Wheels Southwest OH & Northern KY is the only organization in our region authorized to use and license the Meals on Wheels name and brand. Its programs, service, staff leadership and board governance are all local, and 100% of the funds raised are used locally. The national Meals on Wheels network supports its local affiliates through increased advocacy at the state and federal level, fundraising assistance, and a network of peers who are experts in services to older adults.
We will retain the name and brand Meals on Wheels of Southwest OH and Northern KY. The 55 North brand will continue to be utilized for select legacy 55 North programs and events.
Who will lead the organization?
Jennifer Steele will remain CEO of Meals on Wheels of Southwest OH & Northern KY. Shelley Goering, 55 North’s CEO, will become the Chief Business Development Officer at Meals on Wheels and part of the organization’s existing senior leadership team.
Two members of 55 North’s Board will be invited to serve on the Meals on Wheels Board.
Will 55 North keep its offices and building?
55 North will also physically merge with Meals on Wheels and its four locations, based on the services provided from each, by the end of March. We will have a physical presence in the 55 North service area at Fueled Collective in the Rookwood center in Norwood, 3825 Edwards Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45209.
About Your Programs and Services
Will my programs and services change?
Those seniors served by 55 North will continue to receive the services they know and love offered to them by 55 North uninterrupted during the transition. Our intention is to grow and expand current 55 North programming, including into Kentucky. We believe in co-creation alongside the people we serve, and our evaluation of programming needs and opportunities will include your input!
I have a current 55 North Membership. Should I renew for 2023?
We want to take a thoughtful and intentional look at the programs and services offered, and evaluate opportunities for growth and expansion. We anticipate this transition to take a period of 3-6 months. If you had a 55 North membership in 2022, that will be extended during the transition to allow you to continue to participate in scheduled programs.
I participated in the group lunches at 55 North when it was a bricks and mortar center, and have been receiving home-delivered meals during the pandemic. Will that change?
The ability to receive home-delivered meals was a result of a COVID-related, time-limited federal waiver that will expire in January. This is unrelated to the merger. Meals on Wheels staff will work with you to see if you would like to continue to receive home-delivered meals, and what programs and services you might be eligible for and would best meet your needs.
I am a current 55 North client. How do I schedule transportation trips for January 1 and after?
Please call 513-721-0375. Margaret or Dawn will schedule your trip.
I am a current 55 North client. How do I place my food order for delivery for January 1 and after?
513-244-5485 is the Meals Customer Care Line. Meals on Wheels menus are also available online at www.muchmorethanameal.org/menus.
I am a current Meals on Wheels client. Does anything change for me?
Current Meals on Wheels clients will experience no changes to their programs or services. We hope to soon be able to offer exciting new opportunities to our existing clients!