If you or someone you love has ever had their mobility limited, you know just how incapacitating it can be. Meals on Wheels is a nonprofit organization that aims to deliver not just food, but human contact to those members of society who need it most. “We serve anybody who's homebound, regardless of age, regardless of income,” says Denise Powell, Director of Projects and Facilities at Meals on Wheels of Greenville County, South Carolina. “When someone leaves the hospital, the chance of them needing to return to that hospital bed is greatly reduced if they’re getting a good meal each day.”
Delivering hot meals to those in need might sound straightforward, but the simple mission of Meals on Wheels belies the complexities involved: daily fluctuations in volunteer numbers, an ever-changing clientele, and the sheer number of those in need. With a roster of 2,000 volunteers, Meals on Wheels of Greenville County can do a lot of good each day, but managing 2,000 unique schedules in order to maximize daily deliveries is a monumental task. Simply setting delivery schedules could eat up precious budget meant to aid homebound individuals.
Scheduling wasn’t the organization’s only need. Meals on Wheels routinely takes in sensitive data from diverse sources, data which includes payment information from donors and client diagnoses. Assuring access to this data, while taking steps to keep personal details secure, was a top priority.
“We were looking to expand, but we needed technology to do that,” recalls Powell. “Otherwise, we would have only been helping a fraction of those in need.” To meet the challenge of growth, Meals on Wheels brought in long-time partner Palmetto Technology Group (PTG), a member of the Microsoft Partner Network.