October 08, 2012
Posted By: Megan Greenberg
We’ve all heard of Meals On Wheels and know what an amazing and reputable organization it is. But, most of us are unaware of the incredible history behind the institution and its impact right here in Sarasota.
You might be surprised to learn that Meals On Wheels got its start during World War II delivering canteens to British servicemen and brought its program to Philadelphia in the 50s. Today, this vast network serves millions of seniors, and others, across the country, and is the oldest and largest organization in the country offering meal services to people in need.
Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) is on a mission to end senior hunger by 2020. Since 1976, MOWAA has worked diligently to provide tools and resources to senior nutrition programs, since the latest research reveals 8.3 million seniors in the United States faced the threat of hunger. In order to turn their 2020 vision into a reality, they’ve started a national movement to recruit 6 million people who are willing to stand up and pledge to do what it takes to find a solution. Right now there are 5,000 local Senior Nutrition Programs in the United States providing well over one million meals to seniors who need them each day at locations like senior centers or directly to the homes of seniors whose mobility is limited.
We talked with Meals On Wheels of Sarasota (MOW), which was founded by volunteers in 1971, about their devotion to delivering meals to those who are unable to prepare their own food. They were quick to point out that they are not a program for the poor, but rather, they serve people in need, from the financially disadvantaged to someone recuperating from an injury. Over 220 volunteers a week service over 460 people, throughout the entire county, using their own vehicle and paying for their own gasoline.
What make MOW of Sarasota so truly unique, though, is that it does not accept any government funding, giving them the flexibility to meet the needs of a broader set of neighbors, who might otherwise be excluded from their services (e.g. people under the age of 60 years.) They are supported entirely by gifts from individuals, churches, civic groups, and businesses. A $15 gift equals one week of hot, nutritious meals and, they add, endless hope. Meals on Wheels of Sarasota asks for $2.50 per a meal, but meals are provided regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.
If you would like to help this extremely worthy cause, vist Meals On Wheels of Sarasota for steps on how to donate time or money.
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