With Thanksgiving coming up next Thursday, food and family is on my mind. That’s why I want to spend today’s Feel Good Friday talking about an organization that delivers food to senior citizens, Meals on Wheels America.
Meals on Wheels America is “to empower local community programs to improve the health and quality of life of the seniors they serve so that no one is left hungry or isolated.” It is the oldest and largest national organization supporting over 5,000 community-based, senior nutrition programs across the country. Meals on Wheels America provides these local organizations with funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy support.
The problem Meals on Wheels America is addressing is explained on their website. “Nearly 7.4 million seniors have incomes below the poverty line” and “nearly 9.7 million seniors were threatened by hunger.” That’s why millions of volunteers deliver 221 million meals to 2.4 million seniors every year! Locally supported programs also manage what are called congregate nutrition sites – think senior centers. That allows more mobile seniors the opportunity to socialize during their meal.
You can find additional statistics and impacts of the meal deliveries on this page. One that I found eye-opening is the fact that “2 out of 3 recipients report the meals make up half or more of all food eaten that day”.
In addition to delivering meals, and helping combat social isolation, volunteers conduct safety checks around the house when they visit. They also look for changes in their clients’ physical or mental health that might impact future medical needs so they can be addressed before they become catastrophic and costly health issues.
If you know of someone who would benefit by participating in the program you can use this link to find a provider. If you’d like to volunteer, go to this link to learn more. There you can watch videos of volunteers with their seniors and sign up to volunteer.