How to Join Meals on Wheels

by Ainsley Whitley

Meals on Wheels is a national network of programs targeted toward seniors and dedicated to helping meet their nutritional needs. You can make a difference in an older citizens' lives by delivering meals that help them maintain independence and remain well-nourished. Some Meals on Wheels programs also are available for adults with disabilities. You may join Meals on Wheels as a volunteer or as a participant.

Becoming a Volunteer

A woman serving a senior a meal.

Volunteering for Meals on Wheels is as easy as contacting your local MoW and signing up. The MoW website features an easy-to-use signup form for volunteers. Delivering meals is one of the primary volunteer needs; however, other volunteer opportunities such as working in the office and organizing special events are available. When filling out the volunteer form, you may specify your area of interest. After submitting the form, someone from MoW will contact you with more information.

Becoming a Participant

To join Meals on Wheels as a participant, locate your local program and fill out an application. Each state's Meals on Wheels program guidelines may differ slightly. Some MoW programs are exclusive to homebound seniors over the age of 60, while other programs include adults over the age of 18 who have an issue preventing them from shopping for their own food.

What to Expect as a Volunteer

Meals on Wheels offers flexible scheduling, so you may devote as little or as much of your time as you want. Expect to hand-deliver wholesome meals to participants. The pickup and delivery process may take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes and usually occurs in the late morning to early afternoon. You also might make social visits since part of the MoW program is to ensure the overall well being of its participants.

What to Expect as a Participant

Expect to receive two nutritious meals per day based on four types of diets; regular, diabetic, renal and bland. These diet types are meant to accommodate people with special nutrition requirements because of certain health conditions. Depending on your state, the meals either are free or low-cost with a small fee charged per month.

About the Author

Ainsley Whitley is a contributing writer for various branded properties that together attract more than 280 million readers seeking influential content. Whitley's articles have appeared in various print and online magazines, including "GQ," "Details," "Southern Living" and "Cooking Light."

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