Meals on Wheels of Cheyenne won a Microsoft grant to move from a paper tracking system last year.
Phase 1 and 2 of the Microsoft grant’s aims were to secure the Meals on Wheels thrift store and create a scan pricing system, replace the paper tracking system, update the technological infrastructure, and purchase a new accounting program.
To accomplish those goals, Meals on Wheels was able to purchase 10 computers, 2 servers, and now has a great file storage and cloud backup system.
“We are WAY faster than we were before and WAY more efficient,” said Sharon Benson, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels of Cheyenne.
Meals on Wheels of Cheyenne often makes one main dish and 20 different alternatives, catering to the nutritional needs and likes/dislikes of their clients. The organization used to manually highlight nutritional instructions for 32 routes and anywhere from 260-270 people a day. Now that highlighting is done via the computer programs, thanks to the Microsoft grant.
The computer systems are also really important for fundraising. The meals usually cost the organization $10-12 each, but the clients are charged $0-$4.25 on a sliding scale. Donations and fundraising make up the difference and now holiday mailings and donor tracking is much easier for the staff.
Additionally, CyberWyoming and Meals on Wheels of Cheyenne are teaming up to provide scam alert information to senior citizen clients of Meals on Wheels. Seniors are some of the most vulnerable to internet scams in our State, according to the FBI Internet Crimes Complaint Center. In 2017, the Wyoming 50+ population reported losing $1,461,672 to the FBI, but this more than doubled to $3,424,097 in 2018’s reported internet crimes.
CyberWyoming provides Meals on Wheels of Cheyenne with weekly scam alert and cyber information flyers specific to senior citizens. The Meals on Wheels drivers distribute the flyers on their Wednesday routes, which has the most people.
“It is important that we provide information that makes our citizens feel empowered. The first flyer was about the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registry and how to sign up for it. The second flyer was about reporting unwanted calls,” said Laura Baker of CyberWyoming. “It feels good to report a pesky caller you don’t want to hear from.”
Phase 3 of the Microsoft grant is now in progress, to design an online app for route, customer cancellations, and meal tracking. The project involves both Microsoft and the Array School of Technology and is in design and development.