Champions for Meals 2019

Champions for Meals invites local leaders, government officials, and community celebrities to deliver meals as part of Meals on Wheels America’s #MarchForMeals. This week-long event, running from March 18-22, raises awareness of the work that Meals on Wheels programs do in towns across the country.

Media Coverage

Thank you to the following champions for joining us during this year’s event!

This page will be updated each day between March 18-22.

Erie County Legislator John Bruso

Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard

Bonnie Kane Lockwood
Senior Field Representative,
Congressman Brian Higgins

Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen

Erie County Commissioner of Social Services
Marie Cannon

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown

Cheektowaga Councilmember Linda Hammer

Springville Mayor William Krebs

Dr. Patrick Keem, Orchard Park Supervisor and
Debbie Santiago, Orchard Park Senior Center Director

Habiba Mohamed,
WNY Regional Assistant,
Senator Gillibrand’s office

Erie County Legislator Joseph Lorigo

West Seneca Town Councilman William Hanley

Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski and
Cheektowaga Senior Center Director Kerry Peek

Office staff of Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz

Buffalo Common Councilman Joel Feroleto

Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw

Erie County Legislator April Baskin

Erie County Legislator John Mills

Boston Supervisor Jason Keding

Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns

Erie County Legislator Lynne Dixon

Samantha Christmann – Buffalo News

Ashley Rowe – WKBW

Steve Brown – WGRZ

Gabrielle Mediak – WIVB

Hamburg Mayor Thomas Moses, Sr. Buffalo Common Councilman Rasheed Wyatt
Staff of NYS Senator Michael Ranzenhofer Hamburg Supervisor James Shaw Lancaster Mayor William C. Schroeder Hamburg Senior Services Director Marty Denecke
Newstead Supervisor David Cummings Colden Supervisor James DePasquale


Help us reach our goal during WNY’s 24-Hour Day of Giving

Spring It On, the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County’s 24-Hour Day of Giving, takes place on March 20-21, 2019!

Thanks to the support of our community and our amazing volunteers, we are able to provide more than just a meal: we deliver friendship and peace of mind. For those in need of additional help, auxiliary services are sometimes necessary. Help support these services by making a donation during Spring It On!

Build an Emergency Food Kit for one person

Our emergency food kit (EFK) program supplies at-risk clients with a box of shelf-stable food and water, to be used in the event of an emergency. Our Enhanced EFK helps our clients even more, through the delivery of a blanket, flashlight, and other safety supplies.

We plan to distribute 300 enhanced boxes next winter, and need your help to build them! A donation of $18.90 builds one enhanced EFK box.

Deliver two meals to a senior

Gifts made to our organization help offset the cost of services. The generosity of Western New Yorkers ensures that no individual in need is denied service due to the inability to contribute.

A gift of $12.68 covers the cost of producing and delivering two meals - a hot dinner and a refrigerated supper - to a neighbor in need.

Bring food to a client's pet companion

Many of our vulnerable neighbors who receive home-delivered meals live alone and rely on the companionship of their pets to provide comfort and friendship. In fact, some of our clients choose between feeding themselves or feeding their pets, compromising their own health in order to provide for their companions.

Meals on Wheels supports meal recipients with companions through our AniMeals program. Twice per month, Meals on Wheels volunteers deliver dog or cat food for one meal per day for a total of 14 days to program participants, eliminating a clients’ choice of feeding themselves or their pet companions.

On average, the AniMeals program feeds 30 dogs and 47 cats per month. Your support of this program helps provide for our clients' animal companions.

Make a custom donation


Thank you for supporting local organizations during this year’s Spring It On!

News Coverage: Meals on Wheels, Food Bank become FeedMore WNY

Bringing our organizations together to best serve Western New York is a community effort, and we’re thankful for the words of encouragement received from everyone!

Thank you to the local outlets who helped tell our story over this past week. Below, find a recap of news stories announcing FeedMore WNY.

Did you see a story that isn’t listed? Let us know by clicking here!

Food Bank, Meals on Wheels combining organizations to feed more Western New Yorkers in need

The Food Bank of Western New York, Meals on Wheels for Western New York and the Meals on Wheels Foundation of Western New York announced today that they are forming a joint organization in order to tackle the root causes of hunger while better reaching underserved populations and more efficiently meeting the needs of the community. The new organization, known as FeedMore WNY, will expand on Meals on Wheels’ and the Food Bank’s current programming with plans to add new services, including child summer and afterschool feeding programs, food pantries for mobile seniors and workforce development training through the establishment of a community kitchen.

Effective immediately, Meals on Wheels and the Food Bank are operating as FeedMore WNY under a joint services agreement with a unified CEO, leadership team and staff. A single board of directors will oversee the FeedMore WNY agency and FeedMore WNY Foundation. Former Food Bank President and CEO Tara A. Ellis has been named president and CEO of FeedMore WNY. Christine Procknal, former president and CEO of Meals on Wheels, will serve as alliance project director and oversee the transition. The New York State Attorney General will need to formally approve the merger, a process which can take up to a year.

FeedMore WNY will employ more than 110 employees. No jobs were eliminated as a result of the two organizations combining operations.

“Both Meals on Wheels and the Food Bank have a longstanding tradition of working together to feed our community,” Tara A. Ellis, president & CEO of FeedMore WNY, said. “After decades of collaboration, coming together was not only a natural evolution, but the best answer to how we could make an even greater impact and touch even more lives.”

FeedMore WNY expects to distribute at least 10 percent more food to Western New Yorkers in need in its first three to five years as a unified organization. It will accomplish this through the creation of more feeding programs targeted to better reach underserved children and seniors. The organization also plans to launch culinary and warehouse training opportunities to provide hard and soft skills to individuals with high barriers to employment.

“The Food Bank and Meals on Wheels are among the most highly respected nonprofits in our community,” Jerry Sheldon, FeedMore WNY board chair, said. Sheldon previously served as chair for the Food Bank of WNY Board of Directors. “Despite their individual successes, our community still has many unmet needs. Our goal is to utilize the strength of this new alliance to attack the root causes of hunger, serve new clients and help fill unmet needs. The synergy of the two nonprofits’ missions will serve our community more efficiently and allow for the development of programs, as well as a community kitchen that neither nonprofit could do on its own.”

According to Richard A. Grimm, III, FeedMore WNY Executive Committee member and former Meals on Wheels for WNY board chair, “Meals on Wheels is thrilled about the opportunity to partner with the Food Bank. This merger will strengthen both organizations, but more importantly the Western New York community.  In particular, the people that we serve will benefit the most.”

Both organizations have dedicated teams, including staff and volunteers, who are committed to supporting the mission of helping those in need throughout the community. “We are both well-known and respected in the communities we serve and we are each financially sound,” Chris Procknal, former president and CEO of Meals on Wheels, said. Procknal will serve as alliance project director overseeing the transition. ““This is the perfect time for us to form an alliance. Together we will develop new and innovative ways to serve our communities and alleviate hunger. Together we will feed more.”

“The role of any charitable organization should be to maximize its service to the community which it serves,” David A. Smith, FeedMore WNY Executive Committee member and former Meals on Wheels of WNY Foundation chair, said.

“Nowhere is this more true than in providing food and sustenance to those unable to provide for themselves. Unfortunately, Western New York still has too many residents from children to seniors to family units in need of this basic life-sustaining requirement. It is out of this recognized, unmet need that our two organizations are coming together to more effectively provide an integrated, holistic approach to feeding those in need.”

About FeedMore WNY

FeedMore WNY offers dignity, hope and a brighter future by providing nutritious food, friendship and skills training to its Western New York neighbors in need. Through its Food Bank Distribution Center and partner hunger-relief agencies, as well as its Meals on Wheels and other targeted feeding programs, FeedMore WNY alleviates hunger and assists community members of all ages throughout Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties.

Fitting in Fiber

By Jennifer Klein, RD, CDN

As you may have heard, fiber is important for our digestive health, but it also provides many other benefits for our bodies. Adequate fiber intake can prevent diseases such as cancer, high cholesterol, and diabetes, while also regulating bowel movements and helping to maintain a healthy weight.

Older adults require about 25-30g of fiber daily, but many adults do not consume enough each day. It is important to consume fiber throughout the day and not all at once. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, about 6-8 cups a day, to help with the digestion of fiber.

Tips for increasing fiber Intake:

  • Add more fiber into your diet gradually
  • Choose more whole-grain foods; make half your grains ‘whole-grains’
  • Have a high-fiber breakfast – try whole grain/bran cereals or oatmeal with raisins
  • Try brown rice rather than white rice

Initiatives for a Stronger Community – Erie County Survey

Erie County government is looking for feedback on the best ways to improve its health and human services programs. They will use the information from this survey to create their Initiatives for a Stronger Community Plan 2.0. This will be a successor of the original Initiatives for a Stronger Community Plan, released in 2015.

The new plan will be broken into three sections: Supporting our Seniors, Giving Every Child a Chance and Empowering Working Families. Each initiative will have several goals that County officials are working to reach.

Please help us by completing THIS SURVEY and sharing your thoughts and experiences with our Erie County government officials.

This survey will be available until February 20, 2019. Those who complete the survey will have the option to enter to win a raffle for a $100 gift card.

All information submitted is confidential.

Five ways to volunteer with Meals on Wheels in 2019

We’d love to have you volunteer with us! Here are a few ways you can get involved this year.

Deliver meals

One hour can make a difference. Volunteer as often as you’d like at one of our 25 delivery sites. Volunteering is a great opportunity for retirees, college students, business professionals, teachers, shift workers, stay-at-home moms and dads, church groups and others.

To learn more about bringing food and friendship to your neighbors, click here.

Deliver alongside your coworkers or community organization

Our Adopt-A-Route program is the perfect way to have your company or organization give back to the community. Join more than 80 local organizations who share their time delivering meals to elderly neighbors in the community. The program fits the needs of each organization – deliver as little as once a month, or every day! Learn more here.

Become an office volunteer

Office volunteers help in a variety of ways. We’re always looking for dedicated individuals to help us answer phone calls, welcome guests, and assist on projects. Shifts are available from 8 am – 12 pm, 12 pm – 4 pm or 8 am – 4 pm. Volunteers also are needed to assist in the office with a myriad of tasks such as filing, stuffing envelopes, and setting up for events.  Learn more about volunteering here.

Volunteer your voice

If Meals on Wheels has played a role in your life, or in the life of a loved one, we would love to hear your story.

Share your unique Meals on Wheels story with us.

Volunteer at special events

We have several special events throughout the year, including our annual Plate Expectations gala. Keep in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn about calls for volunteers for these special events.


Thank you for your support!

Have questions about how to volunteer? Contact Ashley at 716.822.2002 x21 or by email at

The Benefits of Tea

Jamie Vallone, RD, CDN

Winter can get pretty chilly here in Western New York and one great way to keep warm is by making yourself a cup of hot tea.

In addition to being a soothing beverage, regular tea consumption may help have some health benefits as well. Tea contains polyphenols, a type of antioxidant which can help protect your body from damage. One of the health benefits linked to tea is with cardiovascular health. Studies have shown regular consumption of tea may reduce risk of heart attack and stroke. It may also help lower LDL cholesterol, often referred to as “bad” cholesterol. Green tea has also been found to improve bone mineral density and strength.

In addition to these health benefits, unflavored tea is naturally low in calories and has no added sugar. This can help promote weight loss especially when used to replace high calorie and sugary beverages.

Be sure to keep some tea handy this winter as a healthy way to warm up your morning!

“Step Up to the Plate” fundraiser at Dash’s Market raises $5,804 for Meals on Wheels Foundation

Our annual Step Up to the Plate fundraiser at Dash’s Market was a success!

Patrons of all Dash’s Market locations had the option to add a $1, $3, or $5 donation at checkout, benefiting the Meals on Wheels Foundation of Western New York. This year, the four-week event raised $5,804.

This is the eighth year for the Step Up to the Plate partnership. Launched in 2011, the fundraiser has generated more than $56,000 in donations for the Meals on Wheels Foundation of Western New York.  In 2017, Dash’s Market shoppers helped raise more than $6,100 for our program.

Thank you to Dash’s Market for supporting Meals on Wheels throughout the holiday season!