Meals on Wheels: Nourishing Bodies and Souls in Our Community

Jun 24, 2024 | News & Events

At first glance, Meals on Wheels might seem like a straightforward service delivering food to the elderly. However, as we learn more, it becomes evident that this program is a lifeline for many, helping our elders not just with meals but also by enabling them to remain in their homes. 

The data show that the average age of a Meals on Wheels recipient is 84. More than half of these individuals see only 1-3 people per week, not counting the Meals on Wheels driver. This statistic alone underscores the service’s vital role in combating loneliness and isolation among our senior citizens. Meals on Wheels drivers go beyond delivering meals; they become friends and, sometimes, the crucial link to additional support. They’re often the ones who might suggest a medical check-up for a cold that won’t go away or help connect recipients to resources when they notice a need, like a lack of adequate heating in the home.

The Meals on Wheels program is a community connector, fostering collaborations beyond delivery service. Working closely with the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Portage County, Meals on Wheels thrives due to a supportive, non-profit community spirit. Organizations and businesses like Simplicity, Delta Dental, and the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin have stepped up, committing to regular delivery routes.

While some meal programs require a participation fee, Meals on Wheels remains donation-based, thanks to the generous contributions of donors, the support from meal recipients, grant awards, and an endowment housed at the Community Foundation.

“Because of the endowment and the money it provides, we can keep our services going with donations, filling in where our budget falls short.”

Tasha Beestman

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted their volunteer base, affecting service capabilities. Currently, Meals on Wheel offers meal deliveries four days a week, with an option to provide frozen meals for the weekend. The need for support is more critical than ever.

How can you be part of this essential service? There are many ways to contribute:

Together, we can ensure that Meals on Wheels remains an accessible resource, caring for the health and wellbeing of our community’s elders.

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