Saturday, May 20, 2017

Meals on Wheels: A Lifeline Nationwide and in Albuquerque

On March 23, National Public Radio broadcast and published a feature on Meals on Wheels, an organization that brings food to hundreds of thousands of homebound seniors and people with disabilities. The feature was published shortly after  President Donald Trump released his budget proposal to Congress, which made deep cuts to non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs, such as Meals on Wheels.

The NPR piece, "Food Is Just One Serving Of What Meals On Wheels Gives Seniors," highlighted the story of one individual for whom the program is a lifeline. The feature aired on All Things Considered, with the print version published on the NPR website. Here is an excerpt.

Hanover is 93. She can't drive to the market because of her poor eyesight. She can't walk there because she can't be on her feet for very long. Meals on Wheels, she says, makes all the difference. "It helps me stay in my own home here rather than go to a nursing facility," she says. Meals on Wheels could bring Hanover food for nearly seven years for the cost of just one month in a nursing home. And that nursing home cost would probably be paid for by Medicaid. But saving the government money isn't why Hanover loves to hear the Meals on Wheels volunteers knock on her door."It's my big meal of the day and big excitement of the day," she says. "It's fun."

Photo: Meals on Wheels Albuquerque
An Effective Presence in Albuquerque
Meals on Wheels operates in virtually every community in America through a network of more than 5,000 independently-run local programs. In Albuquerque, Meals on Wheels  serves over 500 people a day.  "We provide our services to any one of any age," the organization says on its website. "There are no restrictions for age or disability. We help you or your loved one stay happy, healthy and independent."

Meals on Wheels Albuquerque will present at the bimonthly meeting of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition on Tuesday, June 13, at First Presbyterian Church (Martin Luther King and I-25), at 12:00 Noon. The program is open to the public.

While delivering food to homes remains the biggest part of  Meals on Wheels in Albuquerque, the local organization also provides several important services.

Local Harvest: Through this program, Meals on Wheels of Albuquerque purchases locally farmed fruits and vegetables for use in its meals. "The program allows us to support local farmers, our economy, and the environment while providing our clients with fresh and healthy produce that they would be unable to obtain on their own,"

Weekend Pantry Box:  This allows low-income clients to eat food on days when meals are not delivered. "This collaboration between Silver Horizons and Roadrunner Food Bank provides us small boxes of shelf stable, non-perishable items that are delivered to our clients once a month. These boxes include items like crackers, pudding cups, microwavable meals and more. We are grateful to Silver Horizons and Roadrunner Food Bank and thank them for their partnership."

Love on a Leash:  The program provides healthy food and more to the pets of Meals on Wheels Clients. "Having a pet is proven to ease depression and relieve feelings of isolation—something many of our clients struggle with daily. Help our L.I.F.E. program clients keep their furry friends by their side. Services include food, veterinary care, and mobile grooming."

Read more about the Three programs.

In this video, Shauna Frost, executive director, of Meals on Wheels of Albuquerque, describes the work of the organization in our community. This is one of the 12 videos in the Albuquerque Involved series.

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