VNA Meals on Wheels helps seniors maintain independence in their homes by providing daily nutritious meals and social contact, thereby decreasing medical costs associated with malnutrition, dehydration, falls and isolation. Our approach to deliver “more than a meal” – but also a connection to the outside world – creates a safety net that reduces medical costs and allows seniors to live a nourished life in their own home.
VNA Meals on Wheels clients are the hidden hungry – homebound, aging and unable to access resources like food banks and grocery stores. Over 67% of our clients are women over the age of 60 who live alone and cannot prepare or access proper nutrition to help them safely maintain their independence at home. They are the frailest among us. They have limited ability to purchase or prepare meals and have little or no support from family or caregivers. Faced with mounting medical bills and rising housing and utility costs, many of these seniors have to choose between food, medications and rent.
JOURNEY OF A MEAL
At 5 a.m. each weekday, more than 5,650 meals are prepared in VNA Haggerty Kitchen - the country’s largest single-site provider of meals to homebound serniors. Individual meals are specially packed and delivered to 22 sites in Dallas County by 10 a.m. Our dedicated drivers pick up meals at 10:30 a.m., and deliver hot meals and smiles to 12-14 seniors each day. The daily schedule averages 300 routes and 200 drivers, of which half are volunteers. In Fiscal Year 2017 more than 7,000 unduplicated individuals received 1,602,502 home-delivered meals.
The Meals on Wheels Program in Dallas was organized in 1957 as a pilot project by the Women’s Council of Dallas County. It was one of the first Meals on Wheels programs in the United States. In 1973, VNA agreed to assume responsibility for the service, viewing the Meals on Wheels program as a logical extension of home health care and as an advancement of the agency’s mission. Over the past forty years, VNA Meals on Wheels has expanded with the needs around us – from serving 125 meals a day in 1973, to more than 5,650 today.