As a part of the Meals on Wheels program, individuals at home who are unable to prepare or purchase their own meals receive meals delivered to them by the program. In some cases, the term “Meals on Wheels” is used generically to refer to a number of home-delivered meal programs, not all of which are actually called by that name. Due to their homebound status, many of the recipients are the elderly, while many of the volunteers are also elderly, but are able bodied and capable of driving an automobile.

It is well established that home delivered meal programs improve diet quality, increase nutrient intakes, reduce food insecurity and improve quality of life among recipients. These programs also reduce government expenditures by reducing the need for recipients to use hospitals, nursing homes, and other costly community services.

Meals on Wheels operates in virtually every community in America through a network of more than 5,000 local programs. Each of the programs’ services and operations may vary based on the needs and resources of the community, but all of them are committed to supporting their senior neighbors to live healthier, more nourished lives in their own homes.

Meals on Wheels has been guided by a single goal since the first-ever delivery in the U.S. by a small group of Philadelphia residents in 1954 – to support our elderly neighbors to remain independent and healthy as they age. Since its beginning, what began as a simple idea has grown into one of the largest and most effective social movements in America, helping nearly 2.4 million seniors each year in virtually every neighborhood.

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