The Red Cross in London, England, originated the concept of Meals on Wheels after World War II. Meals on Wheels service was incorporated in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1974. The agency is a member of the National Association of Meals Programs and is a United Way Agency.
Meals on Wheels, for the Lynchburg area, is a service designed to assist the frail, elderly and younger disabled shut-ins by providing them with one balanced, nutritious, hot meal (lunch) five days each week. The program is for those persons who cannot cook for themselves, have no one to cook for them and may be unable to leave their homes for meals. This service allows people to stay in their homes, maintain some independence, and avoid living in costly institutions - a financial benefit to the client and the community.
Any adult, regardless of age or income, may request our service for an extended or short period of time. This program serves people who need prepared meals due to a permanent disability or temporary disability such as recuperating from a stay in the hospital.
A Meals on Wheels delivery also provides a reassuring "check-in" on those who live alone. Any unanswered delivery is reported and investigated. Any 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.
Meals on Wheels hot lunches consist of meat, one vegetable, one starch, salad or fruit, milk or juice, bread, and dessert. All menus are planned by a registered dietitian. Special dietary needs are met when requested by a physician.
Meals are delivered mid-day, Monday through Friday including holidays. Volunteers deliver the meals in their own cars at their own expense, which helps keep the cost of meals low. Meals on Wheels serve people who live in the city of Lynchburg and the surrounding areas of Madison Heights, Amherst County, Campbell County, and Bedford County.
Meals on Wheels receive support from the United Way of Central Virginia, client fees, and donations. A small number of Meals on Wheels clients pay for all or part of their meals. Others are provided meals through generous contributions from the community. Meals on Wheels receives no state or federal funding.
A new program of Meals on Wheels of the Central Virginia Area, began in the fall of 2002, is Supper Service. This program provides a cold supper to our neediest of our meal recipients and is delivered with their regular noontime meal.
The benefits provided to our supper recipients are greater nutrition, thus improved health. This impacts the entire community by helping our clients to remain in their own homes, leading healthier lives. They will not have to seek government and community funded health care and institutional care as readily with proper nutrition.
Another venture at Meals on Wheels is the ANIMEALS program, which was developed in response to the needs of our meal recipients. In doing regularly scheduled home visits, we learned that some of our clients were sharing their meals with their pets because they simply could not afford to purchase animal food. After researching and learning of the great health benefits that are provided to senior citizens by having a companion animal, we decided that something needed to be done to help folks get food for their pets.
The ANIMEALS program does not accept monetary donations. Instead, people are encouraged to give donations of dog and cat food. Since we have limited space for storage, 10 veterinary clinics have agreed to serve as collection locations for donations of pet food. The ANIMEALS program has cultivated more volunteers who help with the ANIMEALS deliveries.
Meals on Wheels strives to be responsive to the needs of clients through innovative programs such as ANIMEALS and Supper Service. We invite you to be a partner in this very important ministry by a.) Volunteering or b.) Donating.