Meals on Wheels Program
Catholic Charities Meals on Wheels Program delivers low-cost, (or waivered) nutritious noon-hour meals to the homes of at-risk, elderly, homebound, ill, and vulnerable persons age 60 and over in 36 communities across Central Minnesota.
Catholic Charities Meals on Wheels Program's apple logo has been a familiar and friendly indicator of the service the organization has delivered since 1974. Catholic Charities kitchens across Central Minnesota have prepared hot, nutritious meals to the specifications outlined in the Federal Government's nutrition guidelines and enlisted volunteers from the community to drive these noon meals to the homes of their neighbors.
The value of the meal to an elderly person who is frail, recovering from a hospitalization, or, because of handicap or debilitating illness, finds him or herself unable to prepare a meal is priceless. The modest $3.50 - $7.00 suggested contribution for the meal is very small when compared to the cost of food purchase and preparation by a contracted homemaker.
Each year 700 Catholic Charities volunteers deliver over 155,000 noon meals throughout the week to hungry, home-bound seniors. For a complete listing of Catholic Charities Meals on Wheels sites across Central Minnesota, click here.
Meals are delivered right to the diner's door Monday through Friday. Frozen meals are provided for weekends and holidays such as New Year's Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day.
Healthy meals Menus are approved by a registered dietician and follow 1/3 of the reccomended daily allowed of vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc. for adults 70 years of age. Meals are low in sodium, and fruit is a dessert option.
Volunteer drivers care about their elderly neighbors and are able to notify the extended family or authorities if their client appears to be in any sort of danger, needs emergency assistance, appears to be experiencing any sort of abuse or neglect by a caretaker, appears to need help with medication-taking, seems distressed about something, etc.
Volunteer drivers are a regular, daily contact for a homebound senior. Often, these visits are very special. Drivers converse with the diner and assist when necessary with opening trays and milk cartons, meat cutting, placing frozen meals in freezers, etc. Sometimes, drivers carry notes, educational materials, or messages from staff at the main kitchen site.
Year after year, diners continue to use this special home-delivery service, diners like Sharon* who suffer from a chronic illness and fatigue which makes meal preparation very difficult. Often, the family of a diner appreciates how the service relieves Dad or Mom of the chore or potential hazard of preparing a meal alone at home.
Catholic Charities Meals on Wheels Program services are for persons 60 or over, regardless of their race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, marital status, or disability. The program is funded by the Central Minnesota Council on Aging as part of the Older Americans Act and is administered by Catholic Charities because we are concerned about the quality of life for our senior citizens.
If you would like to register for the Meals on Wheels program or would like to register a member of your family, please contact your nearest Meals on Wheels site. The Site Coordinator will return your call and conduct an interview over the phone.
If a senior is able to travel to a congregate dining site, contact Catholic Charities Senior Dining Program.
It is important that seniors receive the proper nutrition in order to remain healthy and living independently in their homes for as long as they wish. The American Heart Association, American Dietetic Association, American Diabetes Association, and the U.S. Government Food and Nutrition are just a few of the resources available for seniors and their families to access.
Emergency services food shelves or pantries are often available to help supplement the meals of an elder person, especially if they are living on a fixed income and paying for food is difficult. For a complete listing of local food shelves, click here.
It is also important for senior citizens to socialize and avoid loneliness which often leads to feelings of worthlessness, anxiety, and depression. If you or a senior you know would like to speak to someone about persistent "blues", lack of energy to face day-to-day tasks and activities, or about your concerns for the future, please contact Catholic Charities Caritas Mental Health Clinic. We can help with services that are free, on a sliding-fee scale, or insurance payable, depending upon the ability to pay.
You or your organization can sponsor meals for seniors in your community who cannot even afford to spend their meager savings or monthly Social Security allotment on one of our low-cost meals. $300 will provide 100 meals for an elderly citizen and help us extend our budget so that we can serve more healthy, nutritious meals to our aging friends, neighbors, parents, and grandparents.
Volunteer drivers and food preparers are needed at our Meals on Wheels kitchen sites.