The numbers are staggering.
In Jefferson County, Alabama, our local Meals on Wheels (MOW) Program delivers more than 1,100 meals per day, five days a week. Roughly 231,645 meals were delivered last year to every corner of the county. This year, the program is on track to serve 285,000 meals.
And the need is growing. In 2019 alone, Meals on Wheels has added 672 homebound seniors to its routes.
Needed: An army of Volunteers and Resources
Let’s be clear. Meals on Wheels CANNOT take a weekday off. If they did, some of our most vulnerable neighbors could go hungry and would miss that daily safety check.
Through the support of an army of 700 volunteers and more than 20 partner organizations, every Monday through Friday they not only mobilize and deliver hot, nutritious meals but also check in with our seniors to make sure they are healthy and safe.
How you can help
All this takes resources. Besides volunteering (which you can do HERE), Meals on Wheels of Central Alabama needs financial support.
For example, a contribution of just $30 amounts to 5 days-worth of meals delivered to a homebound senior in Jefferson County.
That’s the equivalent of one (fairly conservative) night out at a local Birmingham restaurant.
Make a difference, donate to Meals on Wheels – HERE.
“When you make a contribution to Meals on Wheels, your gift directly translates to more homebound seniors receiving meals and daily safety checks by a trained volunteer,” said Karla Lawrence, Senior Vice President Community Initiatives, United Way of Central Alabama. “In addition to helping seniors with hunger, Meals on Wheels helps prevent loneliness and isolation by providing a friendly visit offering social interaction in a given day.”
It’s personal…and more than a meal
Long known for delivering “more than a meal,” Meals on Wheels helps prevent isolation. In many cases, the MOW volunteer delivering the meal may provide the only social interaction homebound seniors have all day. It’s a very personal experience.
Meet Mrs. Gladney
One such example provided by United Way’s Karla Lawrence is the story of Mrs. Gladney.
According to Lawrence, Mrs. Gladney (named was changed to protect privacy) lives in Roebuck. She is 80 years old, lives alone and relies on a wheelchair 24/7. Her family members visit on the weekends to help her with bathing. She receives a hot meal five days a week and enjoys seeing the smiling faces of Meals on Wheels volunteers.
Recently, it was discovered that Mrs. Gladney is unable to access her bathroom because the door isn’t wide enough to accommodate the wheelchair. Consequently, she wears adult diapers (even though she does NOT have incontinence issues). The diapers aren’t changed until a family member visits her on the weekend. Aside from the hygiene aspect, this situation created anxiety and depression for Mrs. Gladney.
MOW caseworkers gained Mrs. Gladney’s permission to have a handyman come to her home and widen the bathroom door. This simple change has improved Mrs. Gladney’s life immensely, restored her dignity and allowed her to continue living independently in her home — which is what she wants to do.
That’s why Meals on Wheels is more than just a meal.
One in five struggles with hunger
Nearly one in five seniors in Jefferson County struggles with hunger.
“Every contribution, no matter the size, allows us to add more homebound seniors to the daily Meals on Wheels deliveries,” said Lawrence. “When we add a new senior, we’ll provide meals now, next year and the next — until they no longer need us to come to their homes. So, adding a new senior means we’ll provide services for a long time.”
Make a contribution today
It costs Meals on Wheels about $6 to package and deliver a hot meal to a homebound senior in Jefferson County. More than a meal, it means safety, support, companionship and love.
Now, more than ever, Meals on Wheels needs your support.