Toyota partners with Meals on Wheels, VNA

Toyota recently announced a yearlong partnership with local organization, Meals on Wheels Collin County and VNA, a nonprofit organization that helps seniors maintain their independence in the home. MOW and VNA serve seniors and residents with disabilities across Collin County, Denton County, Dallas County and other communities across north Texas.

Through this partnership, Colleen Casey, manager of personal mobility and Toyota Social Innovation, said this was Toyota’s chance “to cross beyond just one organization to expand our reach.”

Through 2018 and 2019, Toyota hopes to improve MOW and VNA’s internal processes, its technological literacy and offer each organization a consistent volunteer base throughout the calendar year. Since MOW and VNA clients are less likely to leave their homes to go to the grocery store or move throughout the community, the partnership seeks to find new ways to bring those services directly to residents' doors.

Through the partnership, Casey said Toyota aims to improve the quality of life for seniors “by looking beyond the traditional mobility options.”

Each organization is at different stages in their own technology, so “we think a lot of learning can occur from organization to organization,” Casey said. “It’s really about the resources beyond the dollar,” she said, through better management operations, increased volunteer opportunities, and also collecting data on the medical impact of these services, especially since MOW and VNA both act as critical go-betweens for the health care industry and residents.

Ray Ricchi, board chairman of the Meals on Wheels Collin County, said the Toyota partnership was a chance for MOW to maximize its dollars and serve more residents in need.

“We’re just blessed and thankful that Toyota has partnered with us to bring their expertises in so many areas to benefit our senior population through Meals on Wheels,” Ricchi said.

Since 1976, MOW Collin County has worked to help seniors and homebound residents to live healthy, independent, long lives. By introducing Toyota’s manufacturing processes to MOW’s internal processes, “that’s going to help our organization be more cost effective and efficient, which is going to allow us to help more people with the same dollars,” Ricchi said. “One dollar of savings that we can capture from our partnership with Toyota equates out to meals that our seniors are going to be able to have to maintain a healthy, independent lifestyle. And that our goal. That’s our mission.”

Casey said Toyota’s partnership aims to increase the fingerprint MOW and VNA have in the community. And though they’re receiving valuable industry secrets, the constant volunteer effort from Toyota will also leave a lasting impression on the community.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization,” Ricchi said. “Over 80 volunteers come to our office everyday to pick up the fresh cooked meal that we deliver to those seniors on a daily basis, so without them, we wouldn’t be able to provide that service for our seniors. With Toyota providing volunteers on a daily basis across the calendar year, it just helps us in so many ways to achieve our goal.”

Ricchi said MOW is happy to welcome Toyota to their headquarters, but all residents are welcome to volunteer and share their gifts. Whether it be in the kitchen, delivering meals, or answering phones, “There’s a place for everybody, young and old, to provide and help other people,” he said.

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