Meals on Wheels service began in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1974
Meals on Wheels of Greater Lynchburg is designed to assist the homebound community by providing a balanced, nutritious, hot lunch five days each week.
Each year, over 800 volunteers deliver more than 139,000 hot meals to the homebound. That’s over 11,000 meals each month.
In 2019 we celebrated a double milestone: our 45th anniversary, and the delivery of our 2.5 millionth meal since 1974.
It’s hard to believe that in Fall 2023 we will deliver our 3 millionth meal, and celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2024!
Because we do not accept any state or federal funding for our meals, we are not bound by much of the bureaucracy that accompanies those monies. If they meet our other criteria, we serve any adult, regardless of age or income for either an extended or short period of time. Our program serves people who need prepared meals due to permanent or temporary disabilities.
In addition, the Meals on Wheels delivery also provides a reassuring “check-in” to those who live alone. Any unanswered delivery is reported and investigated. Changes in a client’s health or needs are followed up on by Meals on Wheels staff. If appropriate, referrals to family, physician, or community service organizations are made.
Expanding meal pick-up location options over the last few years means transporting meals from the kitchen, for pickup closer to their destinations. This allows volunteers to spend less time getting started, and more time on delivery.
Read more about our 2022 service data.
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The History of Meals on Wheels
Historically, the Red Cross in London, England, originated the concept of Meals on Wheels after World War II. Over the next several decades, the concept spread to other countries around the world. In the US, the concept began as early as 1954, spreading state by state, community by community. The actual structure in each community is unique, although the basic mission remains the same: to deliver healthy meals to the homebound who are unable to afford or prepare meals for themselves.
In larger, metropolitan areas, the Meals on Wheels organization may be combined under the umbrella of a central kitchen/area foodbank/emergency feeding program.
In other areas, the Meals on Wheels organization may be an integral part of the senior center. In still other localities, the organization might operate independently, but in cooperation and close collaboration with complimenting services.
Meals on Wheels America
Nationally, in 2019, Meals on Wheels provided approximately 220 million meals to 2.4 million Americans. Meals on Wheels America (MOWA) is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. MOWA is the oldest and largest organization in the United States representing those who provide meal services to seniors in need, specifically those at risk of or experiencing hunger. MOWA is a non-profit organization working toward the social, physical, nutritional, and economic betterment of vulnerable Americans by providing the tools and information its programs need to make a difference in the lives of others.
In Lynchburg, we operate independently of other organizations, but we have a clear understanding of the value of collaborating with our partner services and reducing duplication of service wherever possible.
To find a program outside of our Greater Lynchburg service area, visit Meals on Wheels America.
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