McMahan’s Meals on Wheels going strong


By Anthony Collins

Since its inception in 1954 with a small group of Philadelphia citizens, Meals on Wheels has remained steadfast in its mission to empower senior neighbors to maintain their independence and well-being as they grow older.

What began as a simple act of kindness has evolved into a widespread social initiative that now reaches almost 2.2 million seniors each year across the nation.

The organization’s dedication to serving the elderly population has transformed it into one of the most impactful movements in the United States, with a presence in nearly every community. Meals on Wheels continues to make a significant difference in the lives of seniors by providing essential support and nourishment, ensuring that they can age with dignity and grace.

Nationally, Meals on Wheels operates over 5,000 individual programs that cater to low-income seniors by providing them with nutritious meals either at their homes or in community settings.

Although Meals on Wheels America functions as a national advocacy organization that sheds light on senior hunger issues, the local Meals on Wheels programs operate independently and are not part of a centralized national entity.

Each local program is managed by its own board of directors and operates with some degree of autonomy, resulting in variations in services and menu offerings. Nevertheless, these local programs play a crucial role in addressing the needs of the elderly population within their respective communities. 

According to Noelia Buck, the Director of Service Nutrition at Meals On Wheels Rural Capital Area, their organization has successfully delivered meals to a staggering number of individuals.

In the year 2023, they provided meals to over 1800 people, and in the current year of 2024, they have already served more than 1200 individuals. This achievement highlights the dedication and commitment of Meals On Wheels to ensuring that vulnerable individuals in the community receive the nourishment they need. 

The McMahan Meals on Wheels program was introduced by Chef Avenell Le’Mar in 2019, highlighting her passion for ensuring that individuals have access to wholesome meals.

Having completed her culinary education at the prestigious Culinary Business Academy in Albuquerque, N.M., Le’Mar brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role. Le’Mar emphasizes that this is a family affair and she believes in providing exceptional service, ensuring that each meal is served with a warm and friendly smile. 

Dietitians, including those not directly involved in the program, have commended Meals on Wheels for its positive impact on health and cost-effectiveness. Dr. Natalie DiGate Muth, a respected physician, dietitian, and author from California, recognizes the value of this program in delivering nutritious meals to those in need, emphasizing the importance of healthy eating in disease prevention and management. 

Dr. Muth highlights the significant cost disparity between providing a year’s worth of Meals on Wheels compared to a single day in a hospital, underscoring the efficiency and effectiveness of the program.

Meals on Wheels not only focuses on delivering nutritious food but also extends its services to include friendly visits and wellness checks for elderly individuals in Caldwell County, creating a holistic support system for seniors in the area.

To qualify for this service, individuals must be 60 years of age or older and be home-bound, meaning they are unable to drive and cannot leave their homes without assistance. Furthermore, they should not have any help in the home with cooking the noon meals.

In the case of disabled persons who are under 60 years old and are on Medicaid, they may also be eligible to receive these meals.

The St. David Foundation’s generous grant has made a significant impact by providing the necessary funds to cover the cost of every meal. This financial support has been instrumental in ensuring that individuals have access to nutritious and satisfying meals, improving their overall well-being.

The invaluable contribution from the St. David Foundation has allowed us to continue our mission of addressing food insecurity and making a positive difference in the lives of those we serve.

By offering more than just meal delivery, Meals on Wheels ensures that seniors not only have access to healthy food but also benefit from social interaction and regular monitoring of their well-being. This comprehensive approach makes Meals on Wheels a vital resource for the elderly population in Caldwell County, promoting overall health and well-being among its recipients.


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