Our program featured Vicki Coyle who is the CEO of Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley. Their mission is to improve the health, well-being, and independence of homebound seniors and adults with disabilities. The program enables millions to remain in their own homes instead of moving to a nursing facility. The delivery of a nutritious meal coupled with a friendly visit and safety check help seniors cope with three of the biggest threats of aging: hunger, isolation, and loss of independence.
One quarter of Pennsylvanians are over 60 years old and of that number: 27% are food insecure, 26% live alone, 9% live in poverty, and 30% have a disability. Many of the MOWGLV clients have chronic medical conditions and may have physical or cognitive mobility issues that affect their ability to manage and prepare a healthy diet. 65% of clients are women. 82% of clients live alone. 70% are below 133% of the federal poverty guidelines.
MOWGLV serves over 1200 clients scattered throughout Northampton, Lehigh, and Carbon counties. The meals are approved by a licensed dietician and are low in salt, cholesterol, and fat. Meals are tailored to the medical conditions of each individual such as: lactose intolerant, heart healthy, diabetic friendly, soft, pureed, and renal. Clients can also exclude food items simply based upon personal preference. Hot and cold meal options are available daily. A typical hot meal includes chicken parmesan, whole wheat pasta, green beans, orange, wheat bread, and milk or juice.
The Market on Wheels program provides shopping services for 370 clients who could otherwise not access the grocery store due to health, mobility, or connectivity issues. Orders are placed with staff or volunteers. Volunteer shoppers then purchase the groceries and deliver them to the client’s door.
The Ani-Meals program provides food for pets. This allows clients to eat all of their own meals without sharing with their pets. The pet food is ordered through Chewy. Pets are known to boost physical and mental health so there is a need to keep them eating healthy.
MOWGLV relies heavily on their team of volunteers which number over 1,100. The pandemic saw a brief decline in numbers but a social media campaign helped get the organization back to full speed. Volunteers covered 368,956 miles in 2020 and donated over 70,000 hours of volunteer time.