This week on the blog, we are publishing the first of a series of blogposts on Meals on Wheels (MOW) programs. Since our early days, LAI has been partnering with MOW initiatives around the US and now in Canada as a way to deliver our letters to seniors most in need.
This series of blogposts will explain what MOW initiatives are and why LAI has identified them as a key way to access isolated seniors. We hope it encourages you to post an extra letter to a senior in a MOW facility that we serve!
This first blogpost is written by Volunteer Coordinator Tim who has headed up MOW recruitment for LAI!
Originally started in wartime England in 1943, MoW arrived in the US in Philadelphia in 1954 where friends who were concerned for their older neighbors. It now delivers 2.4 million ready cooked meals in virtually every community throughout the US, from huge cities to rural villages. It has about 5000 outlets The actual delivery work is carried out by thousands of dedicated volunteers, many of whom have been doing it for years.
It is more than just food. Here are a few quotes that show the importance of MOW programs.
"When you get involved with Meals on Wheels, you are delivering so much more than daily nourishment. You deliver friendship to those who spend their days alone. You deliver independence, allowing people to age in their homes with dignity. You deliver hope to those often forgotten."
"To care for those who once cared for us,"
"The eligibility is the same everywhere. You must be over 60 and can be single or married. You are able to care for yourself. You do not have a car or transport to a food market. You live in your own home (many of course for eons) and it is the need for healthy food which is the problem. Receiving food regularly, allows you to stay in your own home. Technically, it is free, but a nominal donation is expected. The same volunteers deliver to the same people, so the volunteer becomes 'family'. Often seniors are totally alone, so the smiling volunteer bringing food does not just bring nourishment, but social and humanitarian support. "
Meals on Wheels is a natural fit for LAI. The food will keep the recipients alive and healthy in body. The cards and letters that come from a stranger to show love, will provide critical mental support. The cards and letters will be read and examined many times over, for sure.
Greenville SC, where we support MoW, is a city of 68,000 and they deliver 1200 meals a day.
Cheyenne, WY has a population of 68,000 and last year delivered 67,000 meals.