Nonproft Partners with Tech to Become More Efficient

Foreword: Every once in a while you hear about something that just warms your heart in the world of Tech and this story does. What is better than becoming more efficient at serving senior citizens? Below is an interview with Sharon Benson, Cheyenne Meals on Wheels. Enjoy – Laura Baker

Meals on Wheels of Cheyenne Partners with Microsoft and Array to Become More Efficient

CHEYENNE – 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.  “We used to go through the hard copy files and manually count for our demographics reporting for grants, audits and end of year statistics.  Now we just run the report.”

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.

Phase 3 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. 

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