Fighting Senior Hunger
Meals on Wheels People was founded in 1970 by three women who served 14 Meals on Wheels served on paper plates and wrapped in foil. Today we prepare more than 5,000 meals each weekday, served on-site at one of dozens of neighborhood meal centers throughout the Portland-Vancouver metro area and delivered to homebound seniors by our caring volunteers. The Meals on Wheels program provides homebound seniors with daily visits from volunteers, often the only contact these elders have with the outside world. Meals are served to anyone age 60 and older in Multnomah, Washington and Clark counties.
We have seen a significant increase in the number of older adults who fall below the poverty level. In Multnomah County, where we currently serve around 10,000 clients, a full 31% of those who receive Meals on Wheels fall below the poverty level ($990 per month for a single, $1,335 for a couple). In Clark County, it is 25% and in Washington County, 17% live in poverty. These are older adults who desperately need the nutritional support that Meals on Wheels People provides daily.
Over the past 12 months, the number of requests for Meals on Wheels service has increased dramatically. The rising cost of both housing and healthcare are impacting limited incomes to the point where seniors must choose between paying for their medication and buying food. Many are turning to Meals on Wheels because they have no other options available.