When a Meals on Wheels client needs extra food for their other meals, a large brown grocery sack is packed for them and delivered with their hot meal. Clients may request groceries once every 30 days. In the last four weeks, Meals on Wheels provided “Groceries on Wheels” for 161 households.
“Groceries on Wheels” first started in 1975 when someone who had been receiving meals, died. Her son came from out of town to clean out her house and offered Meals on Wheels the food in her pantry. Betty Bradley, executive director of Meals on Wheels, put the food in cardboard boxes under her bed and distributed it to clients who had little or no food in the house. However, there have been many times over the years when the pantry shelves were bare for extended periods of time.
“Groceries on Wheels” developed into a more formal service in 2007. Bradley said they selected the name and began to give clients the opportunity to request what things they would like to have.
“An elderly lady had been referred to Meals on Wheels,” said Bradley. “When I went to visit her, I learned that she had been living on water and a few crackers for three days. I went straight back to the office and bagged up two sacks of food for her.”
Many Meals on Wheels clients find that once they pay housing, utilities and medical expenses there is little money left to purchase food. Â Also, having a caring volunteer deliver a meal five days a week insures that frail individuals have a well-balanced meal. Because so many Meals on Wheels clients cannot afford to buy enough food for their evening and weekend meals there is a great need for the “Groceries on Wheels” program.
Volunteers help stock the shelves, fill grocery orders and/or deliver bags of food to clients. There are more than 800 volunteers involved in delivering a hot lunch to the frail people in the program.