Vantage Aging, Meals on Wheels of Stark, Wayne counties to merge

October 2, 2018

Vantage Aging, Meals on Wheels of Stark, Wayne counties to merge

AKRON, Ohio – Vantage Aging, a nonprofit that offers programs to help older adults live independently, announced Tuesday that it will merge with Meals on Wheels of Stark & Wayne counties.

The merger is expected to enable the nonprofit organizations to better meet the needs of a fast-growing population requiring senior services.

Vantage Aging, formerly Mature Services, moved in August into a new headquarters on Romig Road in Akron. It has operated in Summit County for more than 40 years.

Meals on Wheels of Stark & Wayne Counties has provided home-delivered meals to seniors for more than 45 years.

More than 20 percent of Summit County’s population is 62 or older - a percentage expected to increase in the next 10 to 15 years, Vantage Aging reports. That is 17 percent higher than the county’s over-62 population in 2010.

At the same time, organizations serving seniors are reporting funding cuts at the federal, state and local levels.

Working together, the groups will continue to serve seniors in Summit, Stark and Wayne counties, estimating delivery of about 600,000 meals each year. About 48,000 meals are served annually to seniors in groups in community centers, housing complexes or schools.

“Agencies like ours need to band together to leverage our expertise and resources to expand services to one of the fastest growing populations,” said Meals on Wheels of Stark & Wayne Counties CEO Ted Watko in a news release. “Funders expect nonprofits to consider mergers to provide economies of scale, deliver services more efficiently, and bring them the best possible return on their community investment.”

The merger is expected to bring stability to other services the organizations offer beyond providing meals to those who are homebound because of age or disability, said Chuck Alderson, CFO/COO of Direction Home Akron-Canton Area Agency on Aging & Disabilities.

“Consolidation of administrative tasks, including payroll, community engagement, and client management systems will allow for program expansion and more sustainability,” Watko stated in the release.

In addition to several Summit County programs, Vantage Aging also manages the Senior Community Service Employment Program in 37 other Ohio counties. The program provides paid, on-the-job training to low-income, older adults.

The organization wants to expand its offerings in counties where programs are already offered, said President, and CEO Karen Hrdlicka in the release.

“Our goal is to help people age with dignity, and now all three counties will have access to our holistic services including non-medical home care, counseling and treatment for mental health, alcohol and other drug use issues, our Telecare program offered by RSVP and of course, our workforce programs,” Hrdlicka stated.

TeleCare offers companionship through phone calls several times per week. RSVP is a group of retired seniors and other volunteers.

For more information, visit the Vantage Aging website or call 330-832-7220.

Want more Akron news? Sign up for cleveland.com’s Rubber City Daily, an email newsletter delivered at 5:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Update hourly