Skip to Content

Meals on Wheels: Free Food and Safety Checks for Seniors

Meals on Wheels: Free Food and Safety Checks for Seniors

Meals on Wheels helps seniors all over the United States stay healthy, safe, and happy!

What is Meals on Wheels?

Meals on Wheels is a leadership organization that helps fund nutritious meals and safety checks for seniors who are in need of food and companionship. Meals on Wheels works with local non-profit organizations, government agencies, and tribal organizations in over 5,000 communities in the United States.

Advertisements

To find your local program that works with Meals on Wheels, please click here to go to the section at the bottom of this article titled “How can I find my local program that works with Meals on Wheels?”

Who qualifies for Meals on Wheels?

Who qualifies for Meals on Wheels? This older lady in a yellow shirt would like to know as well.
By Unsplash user @bbh_singapore

Programs that work with Meals on Wheels usually serve adults who are at least 60 years old. They tend to focus on helping people with mobility or transportation problems that make it hard for them to shop for food, make meals, or go out to spend time with others. They also tend to focus on seniors who live independently and who are isolated from friends and family. Your local program that receives funding from Meals on Wheels might have different requirements for who can sign up for their services, so make sure you qualify.

Advertisements

To check if you qualify for your local program, please click here to go to the section at the bottom of this article titled “How can I find my local program that works with Meals on Wheels?”

How does Meals on Wheels work?

If you are unable to drive, programs that work with Meals on Wheels will deliver food straight to your home. The volunteer or staff member who brings your meal will come with a smile, chat with you, and ensure that you are well. If you have fallen, experienced a medical emergency, or are in distress, the person who is delivering your food will contact medics and notify your family.

Advertisements

If you are able to drive, many programs offer congregate meal sites. Congregate meal sites are locations in your local area where you can eat your provided meals with other people in the program. This is a great way to join a community and to have a reason to leave the house.

What are some additional services provided by Meals on Wheels?

Like this lady smiling and talking on the phone, a Meals with Wheels volunteer or staff member will call to ask how you are feeling.
By Unsplash user Brian Wangenheim

If you have special dietary requirements due to your medical history, religion, and other needs or preferences, some local programs will provide for these requirements. Some programs may also serve fresh fruit and vegetables from a garden. If your area is experiencing a natural disaster or bad weather, your local program may provide emergency meals.

Some local programs will provide services such as home repair, transportation to doctor appointments, pet food delivery, and telephone reassurance. Telephone reassurance means that a program volunteer or staff member will give you a friendly call to check in and chat with you.

If the telephone reassurance service is done through an automated call system, a computer will call you to ask if you are okay. If you answer the call and reply, the automated system will know that you are safe. If you do not answer, the system may contact law enforcement and tell them to perform a wellness check on you.

Whether these additional services are provided will depend on how your local program is set up. To learn about what services and special meals your local program has, please click here to go to the section at the bottom of this article titled “How can I find my local program that works with Meals on Wheels?”

Do you have to pay for your meal?

Whether you have to pay depends on how your local program works and your individual circumstances. Payment for meals and services can range in their costs. They can be free, discounted, or full price. While pricing varies based upon your area and resource availability, the average cost is about $6.00 – $7.00 dollars per meal.

Advertisements

If you cannot afford to pay, Meals on Wheels states that it will still provide for you. You may be asked to contribute a small amount towards the cost of your meal, but it is not necessary to do.

If you want to pay for your meal with an EBT card, most programs working with Meals on Wheels will accept it. This is dependent on your local area, however. If programs near you do not accept EBT cards, click on this link to read an article about unexpected uses for EBT. One section of the linked article discusses how you can pay with an EBT card for groceries to be delivered to your home.

To learn about your local program’s payment process, please click here to go to the section at the bottom of this article titled “How can I find my local program that works with Meals on Wheels?”

How do you sign up for Meals on Wheels?

Two women in business attire discuss an application on a tablet.
By Unsplash user Amy Hirschi

Most programs working with Meals on Wheels will ask you to fill out an application. They may assess your need for their services with a visit. In some cases, you may need to provide a referral letter from a doctor or social worker. The exact process of signing up for these services will depend on your local program.

To learn about your local program’s sign up requirements, please click here to go to the section at the bottom of this article titled “How can I find my local program that works with Meals on Wheels?”

How is the pandemic affecting Meals on Wheels services?

While the exact process is dependent upon your local program, most Meals on Wheels services are continuing with a few changes to ensure that you are safe. Delivery drivers may knock, leave your meal at the door, and wait for confirmation that you have received your food.

Advertisements

How can I find my local program that works with Meals on Wheels?

This person is typing on a MacBook Pro, perhaps searching for their local program affiliated with Meals on Wheels.
By Unsplash user Glenn Carstens-Peters

Click this link and enter your zip code here at the original Meals on Wheels website. Choose the location that is closest to you. Once you are on your local program’s website, look for a section that discusses their services.

The section you are looking for may be called something like “Meals on Wheels” or “Nutrition Services”. You should then be able to contact someone or read about your local program’s qualifications, services, and application process.

How can I save money and get more free stuff?

Glad you asked! Click this link for some of the cheapest healthy food you can find at a store, broken down by each aisle! And here’s a link to more freebies for seniors.

As a third-year English major with years of researching and writing experience, Chloe uses her experience and her passion for helping others to help you get the financial aid you deserve.