The concept of Meals-on-Wheels has its origins in Britain where it began as a program to deliver hot meals to elderly victims of the Blitz during World War II. In the US, the first Meals-on-Wheels program began in Philadelphia in 1954, spreading state by state and community by community. A Meals-on-Wheels service was incorporated in New Rochelle, NY in 1983.
Although the basic mission remains the same - to deliver hot meals to those who are homebound and unable to shop and prepare meals for themselves - the actual structure of Meals-on-Wheels in each community is unique. Most cities throughout the country have a program for home-delivered meals. Although they may differ in details, all cooperate and collaborate with complimenting services in the community in which they reside.
Who We Serve
Meals-on-Wheels of New Rochelle is a private independent, not-for-profit corporation, not affiliated with any state or federal agency. Though we operate locally and independently of other organizations, we have a clear understanding of the value of collaborating with our partner services and reducing duplication of service wherever possible.
In New Rochelle, Meals-on-Wheels is available to any qualified homebound person, regardless of age or income for as long as needed. This program serves people who require prepared meals due to permanent or temporary frailty, illness or disability thus enabling them to remain in their own homes.
In addition to bringing nourishment, Meals-on-Wheels volunteers also deliver a reassuring daily "check-in" on clients. Changes in a client's health or needs are followed up on by Meals-on-Wheels staff. When appropriate, referrals to family, physician, or community service organizations are made.
In 1982, Sister Miriam Therese Peppin, who was then Director of the New Rochelle Office for the Aging, saw the need for a home-delivered meal service for the many elderly home-bound in the City who were unable to shop or cook for themselves. She met with a small group of concerned local men and women who set out to marshal support for such a program. The Inter-religious Council of New Rochelle, along with members of the original Board of Directors, provided seed money for start-up expenses and an agreement was reached with SoundShore Medical Center (now Montefiore New Rochelle) to provide meals tailored to individual diet requirements.
In 1983, Meals-on-Wheels of New Rochelle, Inc. was formed as an independent not-for-profit corporation. Volunteers were recruited to deliver meals and service was initiated in January of 1984. In that first year hot meals were delivered to approximately 20 to 25 men and women a day, five days a week. Weekend delivery was added two years later and in 1991, the Program began offering a salad and sandwich light supper in addition to the hot meal.
At present there are 40 to 50 daily meals recipients on the MOW roster in New Rochelle. Hot nutritious meals, plus the optional sandwich and salad supper, are delivered 365 days a year.
Where We Are Today
From its beginnings in the eastern U.S. more than 60 years ago, Meals-on-Wheels has become one of the most valuable of the many programs in our communities nationwide. It provides a very effective alternative for people to remain in the familiar surroundings of their own homes – as long as they can safely do so. It serves as a link between the home-bound and other community services and promotes better health among the elderly by providing hot nutritious and therapeutic meals. If it weren't for Meals-on-Wheels of New Rochelle many of our fragile home-bound neighbors would go to bed hungry every night.