Helping Fight Senior Hunger and Isolation in Jefferson County
The first formal Meals on Wheels program in America began in the 1950s in Philadelphia and has grown into a vast network of community-based programs providing home-delivered meals to homebound seniors across the country. Here in Jefferson County, Meals on Wheels was set in motion in 1976 – serving just five clients at that time. Today, our local program provides more than 187,000 meals to homebound seniors throughout Jefferson County each year. The program is administered by United Way of Central Alabama in partnership with the Jefferson County Office of Senior Citizen Services.
The Meals on Wheels program offers two types of home-delivered meals – hot meals delivered daily (Monday through Friday) and frozen meals delivered once weekly. Most meals served in Jefferson County are hot meals, which are delivered daily by volunteers. Frozen meals are generally provided in areas where we do not offer daily hot food delivery or in other very specific circumstances as determined by our case managers.
Meals on Wheels also offers another vital service to homebound seniors – human contact. Many seniors who are unable to leave their homes may not see or talk to another individual for days at a time. Meals on Wheels volunteers, who deliver the meals, provide an opportunity for conversation and socialization. Engaging with the volunteer is completely up to the client, but volunteers are always prepared for a friendly visit and to make sure that other critical needs are not going unmet.
General qualifications for the program require clients to be age 60 or older and typically homebound. Prior to placement as an active participant in Meals on Wheels, a case manager will conduct an in-home assessment to confirm a potential client’s qualification for the program.