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Meals on Wheels America - feeding elderly

We are the oldest, largest national organization supporting more than 5,000 community-based senior nutrition programs nationwide that are dedicated to addressing senior hunger and isolation.

Meals on Wheels America

Meals on Wheels has been guided by a single goal since the first known U.S. delivery by a small group of Philadelphia citizens in 1954 – to support our senior neighbors to extend their independence and health as they age. What started as a compassionate idea has grown into one of the largest and most effective social movements in America, currently supporting the network of programs to deliver 223 million meals to 2.4 million seniors each year nationwide in virtually every community in the country.

Meals on Wheels America is the oldest and largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based senior nutrition programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior hunger and isolation. This network, along with more than two million volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, research, education and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time.

Seniors represent a dramatically growing segment of the hunger crisis in America. Prior to the pandemic, there were nearly 10 million seniors in America struggling with hunger; 8 million lived in isolation; and more than 7 million had incomes below the poverty line. The global demand hit and took its most lethal aim at the elderly, sparking intense amplification of the daily struggles they were already facing. Having experienced a doubling of demand in 2020 that was projected to take 40 years to materialize, Meals on Wheels America and our network of thousands of local programs pushed into overdrive to sustain services and supports for the millions of seniors who were depending on us. 

Now, as a result of the pandemic, an even greater number of older adults are experiencing food insecurity and loneliness than ever before. As of spring 2022, local Meals on Wheels programs were still serving an average of 42% more meals than pre-pandemic.

Now more than ever, Meals on Wheels is a vital solution to the three biggest threats to our seniors: inadequate nutrition, isolation and safety. Delivering much more than a meal, Meals on Wheels provides the safety check, the warm smile and friendly conversation that enable millions of seniors to remain in their own homes, where they want to be. Nearly 60% of Meals on Wheels home delivery clients live alone and often the volunteer is the only person they see all day. 

Meals on Wheels America will continue to do whatever it takes to ensure Meals on Wheels remains the solution that’s fully able to support our nation’s seniors and remains a vital lifeline for hungry and isolated older adults – today, tomorrow and for many decades to come.