Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels has been a long-standing, highly-regarded institution since its beginning. The first "Meals On Wheels" were delivered in canteens to British servicemen during World War II. While the first formal Meals on Wheels program in America began serving seniors in Philadelphia in the 1950s, the program began serving seniors in Jefferson County in 1976. From its humble beginnings, the program has grown exponentially into today's vast network of local home-delivered meal programs that serve thousands of seniors in Jefferson County and millions of seniors across the country.
When the Meals on Wheels program began in Jefferson County in 1976 five clients were initially served. Over the past thirty-seven years, the program has served tens of thousands of homebound seniors in Jefferson County. In our most recently completed fiscal year 2011/2012, the program served over 250,000 meals to homebound seniors in Jefferson County, and is on target to serve over 260,000 meals this fiscal year.
The Meals on Wheels program offers two types of home delivered meals – Hot meals delivered daily, Monday through Friday, and frozen meals delivered once weekly. The majority of meals served in Jefferson County are hot meals which are delivered daily by volunteers and a few paid staff drivers. Frozen meals are generally provided only in areas where we do not offer daily hot food delivery or in other very specific circumstances as determined by our case managers.
General qualifications for the program require a client to be age 60 or greater and for the client to be generally homebound. Other factors considered in qualification for the program include assessment of living arrangements, evaluation of independence in activities of daily living, observation of cognitive an physical abilities, and assessment of nutritional risk. Prospective clients meeting the general qualifications for the program may apply for placement on our waiting list. Prior to placement as an active participant on Meals on Wheels, one of our case managers will conduct an in-home assessment to make a final determination of a potential client’s qualification for the program.
While there is no “charge” for meals, we do offer clients an opportunity to voluntarily contribute to Meals on Wheels to help offset the costs of meal delivery and program operation. We suggest a donation of $60.00 per month, but we are appreciative of any amount that fits in your budget. Each year, the agency must raise over $300,000 in local funds, a large portion of which comes from client contributions, to maintain our current level of service.
For seniors who do not meet the requirement for homebound meals, there are numerous nutrition centers located throughout Jefferson County that provide senior meals in a congregate setting. For a list of current nutrition centers, click HERE or click the link below.