Meals on Wheels home-delivered meal program is designed to enhance the health and independence of homebound seniors and disabled individuals. This program holds a number of benefits for the community.
- Clients receive proper nutrition, companionship and are enabled to live independently.
- Caregivers receive peace of mind, knowing their loved ones are being checked on daily.
- Meal-delivery volunteers receive satisfaction and feel a deeper connection with their neighbors.
- Taxpayers save on health care costs. It costs more than $100,000 for a senior to enter assisted living; Meals on Wheels can feed a senior for approximately $2,900 a year.
Clients receive two meals a day—a hot lunch and cold supper—both delivered during the lunch hour. These meals provide 2/3 of the daily recommended nutrition for a senior. In addition to the nutritious, delicious food, clients enjoy conversations and companionship with a caring Meals on Wheels volunteer.
- Seniors over the age of 60 who are:
- Physically unable to shop and/or prepare meals due to severe illness or disability,
- Mentally incapable of providing for their nutritional needs (they may become confused or forgetful), and/or
- Homebound or unable to leave the home without assistance.
- Individuals under the age of 60 who are severely physically handicapped or terminally ill.
Clients must live alone or with a family member who is unable to provide/prepare nutritionally adequate meals. Clients must not be receiving services from another agency that includes meal preparation in its care plans. Clients must live within the service area and have access to a facility for refrigerating food.
Clients in our traditional home-delivered program are asked to make a voluntary contribution to help defray the cost of meals. The suggested voluntary contribution is $7 per day for the two meals or $35 per week. The actual cost of food preparation and delivery is approximately $11.45 a day. Any contribution is gratefully accepted; no client is turned away due to an inability or unwillingness to contribute.
Getting our meal recipients the food that best fits their needs is the top priority at Meals on Wheels for WNY. For that reason, a number of menu options are available. They include:
- Regular—Our regular menu primarily includes common food items with modifications made to control sodium, fat and cholesterol. These heart-healthy modifications include using 1% low-fat milk and sodium-reduced meats, and avoiding high-sodium seasonings/salt altogether.
- Calorie Controlled (Diabetic or Weight Control)—In addition to the modifications listed above, this menu eliminates highly sweetened foods. Lower calorie substitutes for desserts (gelatins, puddings, cookies, cakes, etc.) containing sugar are included.
- Bland—In addition to the modifications described in the regular menu description, the bland menu eliminates some foods that are a little more difficult to digest, such as tomato products, corn and baked beans.
- Renal Calorie Controlled—For individuals on dialysis, this option has modifications made to it that control protein, phosphorous, potassium and sodium. These changes include the elimination of such foods as milk, tomato products, spinach, oranges, orange juice, bananas, prunes, dried peas and beans. It also includes a reduction of foods such as cheese and potatoes. Lower sugar substitutes are used for puddings, cakes and cookies. This menu does not provide a fluid restriction.
- Ground—Ground meat (hot meal only) is available for participants based on need. In this option, whole meats such as chicken, roast beef, and turkey are ground from fresh meat when they are on the menu. All soft foods (casseroles, ground meat patties) are served in their normal state.
Applying for, and starting to receive our service, is simple. All you have to do is fill out the form in the blue area below, or call our intake department at (716) 822-2002, Monday through Friday, anytime between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Be prepared to provide the following information:
- Full name
- Complete address (apartment number, zip code, etc.) and phone number
- Date of birth
- Marital status
- Name, address and phone number (home and work) of one person who can be contacted in case of emergency
- Physician’s name, complete address and phone number
- Eligibility information—why are home delivered meals needed?
Meals on Wheels Social Workers will then work with the applicant or caregiver to arrange for meal service to begin. Most recipients receive their first meals within a day or two of assessment. More specific information on this will be provided when you call to apply. All efforts will be made to provide meal delivery service as soon as possible.
For our most vulnerable, long-term clients, Meals on Wheels provides meals seven days a week—including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays when the agency is closed. A dietitian will assess whether weekend and holiday meals are needed. For those clients who receive them, weekend meals are delivered frozen on Thursday with the recipients’ regular delivery.
Each fall, Meals on Wheels reminds clients to stock up on emergency foods for the winter months. “Blizzard Boxes” are also assembled, containing a one-day supply of canned goods. The boxes are delivered to participants who are at highest risk and to police stations throughout our service area. In the rare event that Meals on Wheels service is cancelled due to a severe storm, the police assist in delivering the “Blizzard Boxes.”
Q: What communities does Meals on Wheels for WNY serve?
A: Our delivery area encompasses the City of Buffalo and most of the surrounding areas, including: Akron, Angola, Blasdell, Boston, Cheektowaga, Clarence, Colden, Concord, Depew, Derby, East Aurora, Eden, Elma, Evans, Farnham, Hamburg, Holland, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Marilla, Newstead, Orchard Park, Sardinia, Sloan, South Wales, Springville, and West Seneca. If you live outside of our service area, we can refer you to the closest/most convenient Meals on Wheels agency.
Q: How are meals delivered?
A: Getting 3,600 meals out to hungry recipients in a timely fashion each and every day is not as easy as the agency makes it look! The process begins bright and early each morning, as the day's meals, expertly planned by the Meals on Wheels dietitians, are cooked and assembled fresh at the agency's commissary. The meals are packed in cold chests and ovens, then driven out to each of the organization's 25 meal-delivery sites across WNY. Several hundred dedicated volunteers take over from there, each delivering meals to 10-12 individuals per day around lunch time.
Q: How is your program funded?
A: Meals on Wheels for WNY is a private, not-for-profit agency and has been certified by the Meals on Wheels Association of America. A majority of its funding comes from government grants and private contributions (63 percent). Another 25 percent of its operating budget comes from recipients’ voluntary contributions. The Meals on Wheels Foundation of WNY provides additional support through its fundraising activities.
Q: What meals are provided?
A: A hot meal at midday and a cold meal for supper are delivered five days a week, Monday through Friday, between 11 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Both regular meals and special-diet meals are specially designed to meet the participant’s dietary needs as prescribed by a physician. The hot midday meal contains meat or an alternate, two vegetables or juice, bread, dessert and milk. The cold supper is a sandwich or cold plate, salad or juice, dessert and milk. As mentioned, all meals are prepared fresh on a daily basis.
Q: Are there days that service is not available?
A: All clients are eligible for Monday through Friday delivery. Vulnerable clients are eligible for weekend meals (see section above). Meals on Wheels for WNY closes only for the six major holidays: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. A process is in place to make sure that vulnerable clients receive holiday meals prior to a closure.
All home-delivered clients with pets are eligible to receive free pet food once a month through the AniMeals program. This helps ensure that clients’ furry friends are cared for and that clients can enjoy the benefits of a pet companion. If interested, ask about AniMeals during enrollment.
SIGN UP FOR MEAL SERVICES
Medical personnel—Please visit our secure site to refer clients here.
Caregivers or prospective clients—Complete and submit this form. You will be contacted within 24 business hours of submission to continue the enrollment process. Note that you must complete one application per person who needs meals.
This form is secure, and Meals on Wheels for WNY makes every effort to maintain that security and ward against technological issues. However, you do enter information at your own risk. If you do not wish to enter your information electronically, please call the office at 716-822-2002.