Meals on Wheels Delivers Much More than a Meal!
Missoula Aging Services announced today that it will be participating in the 19th annual March for Meals – a month-long, nationwide celebration of Meals on Wheels and our older neighbors who rely on this essential service to remain healthy and independent at home, now even more so amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the last year, we have experienced a 40% increase in the demand for our services in Missoula County,” says Susan Kohler, CEO of Missoula Aging Services. “We have been in awe of the outpouring of support, and there’s still much we can do to ensure everyone in need of this vital lifeline can benefit from being well-nourished and more connected to our community through this challenging time.” Meals on Wheels delivered 96,000 meals during the first 10 months of this pandemic.
This work has only been possible -especially during the worst of times- thanks to the dedication and sacrifice of over 70 Meals on Wheels volunteer drivers, and to all the members of our community who financially support Missoula Aging Services each year. A large part of that support comes during the month of March each year through March for Meals fundraising efforts.
Though the COVID situation is improving as the vaccination effort continues, right now these expanded services remain a critical lifeline for many in the community. During the month of March, the March for Meals campaign aims to raise $85,000 from the community to support the continued need for expanded services.
The annual March for Meals celebration commemorates the historic day in March of 1972 when President Nixon signed into law a measure that amended the Older Americans Act of 1965 to include a national nutrition program for people 60 years and older. Since 2002, community-based Meals on Wheels programs from across the country have joined forces for the annual awareness campaign to celebrate this successful public-private partnership and garner the support needed to fill the gap between the community members served and those still in need.
“The pandemic has introduced many of us to the newfound and harsh realities of food insecurity and social isolation – something that far too many older adults experience as their daily norm. More than ever, we must rally around our essential community-based programs that serve as lifelines to a growing number of people in need,” said Ellie Hollander, President, and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “Even when we make it through this unprecedented time in our nation's history, there will still be millions of vulnerable older adults who will rely on that familiar knock on the door that provides peace of mind and hope beyond the meal itself.”
All month long, we'll be profiling volunteer drivers, introducing our dedicated nutrition team, and lifting up the stories of the homebound neighbors who appreciate - and rely on- the friendly check-in that comes with each Meals on Wheels delivery.