Many people think that Meals on
Wheels is a nationally run organization or a set of Federal
programs that are similar to Medicare. Neither is the
for information on congregate and Meals-on-Wheels
organizations near you.
Meals on Wheels is a generic term
to define organizations that have the primary function of
providing meals for seniors in their homes.
Though Meals on Wheels
organizations exist nationwide, they are not run
by any one company or organizations, and are not the part of any Federal
agency. They are loosely affiliated organizations (usually
staffed by volunteers) that are run by churches, civic-minded
individuals, senior residence homes, and some local and state funded
Not all such
programs use the "Meals on Wheels" name. Others use a
different name, but basically do the same job. At a local
level, these organizations are highly efficient in providing meals
for seniors who need some nutritional help at home and many offer
the chance for a personal visit as well. You will
seldom see any other program that works at this level of
But do not mistake the value and
efficiencies of these local organizations with government agencies
or any national organization.
Each local organization is run
independently and has their own rules, though most are very
similar. Each local Meals on Wheels sets their own prices
and many have a 'pay if or as you can' policy, while others have a
minimum charge. Each local organization is responsible for bringing on new
volunteers to deliver meals, and each sets their own criteria for
inclusion in their program.
Finding a local Meals on Wheels
Click Here to
find a Meals-on-Wheels near you.
Many Meals on Wheels programs also have
waiting lists. In other words, do not wait till the last
minute to make contact. If you are on a waiting list, you
will probably have to wait for additional funds, volunteers, or
someone to come off their current list.
organizations need your help.
Most local Meals on Wheels
organizations need and accept donations, and all require volunteers
to complete their mission. SeniorMag recommends that you make any donations
ONLY through the local organization rather than any national
While there are several
self-appointed national membership organizations that will be glad
to take your money, donating to them means that virtually none
of your donation ends up as food for seniors. It is use
almost exclusively in an administrative capacity, and to pay the
wages of the organization's administrators. We recommend keeping your
Meals on Wheels organization can
generally only take donations from individuals in the form of cash
rather than food or supplies. Many generous and
well-intended people wish to donate left over food supplies from
restaurants, family gatherings, etc.
Unfortunately, while these are
almost certainly of high quality and value, Meals on Wheels
programs are charged with knowing the nutritional content of every
meal they put out, and they must abide by regulations that
determine who and how food is handled. Please know that your
intentions are well-respected and appreciated. However,
receiving food from third-party sources cannot be done.
If you want to donate funds to a
Meals on Wheels organization and are not sure who to contact,
check with the people at MealCall.org
who will guide you to local meal charities that really need your
help. MealCall however, will NOT accept your donations
donate to your local Meals on Wheels, each local dollar means food for
a local area