VNB Community Counts--June 12th

Meals on Wheels of Charlottesville-Albemarle is an independent, nonprofit organization, founded in 1977, that provides hot, nutritious lunchtime meals to local homebound people. Our current delivery area includes the city of Charlottesville, the urban ring of Albemarle, portions of Western Albemarle, including Crozet, Greenwood, and Whitehall, and portions of Southern Albemarle, including Scottsville and Esmont. Volunteers deliver meals five days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, including all holidays that fall on a weekday. Meals on Wheels is available to any person who is physically or mentally unable to prepare his or her own meals and who has no one to help out in meal preparation. While some of our clients pay for their meals, the vast majority are not able to do so.

Meals on Wheels provides full or partial financial assistance to clients who cannot afford to pay the cost of their meals. Many of our clients are severely disabled, with financial resources long-since depleted by ongoing medical care for conditions such as diabetes, cancer, or mental disability.

Over the past five years, Meals on Wheels has experienced a significant (on average, ~7%) increase in number of meals served; in 2008, we delivered over 50,000 hot meals. We are currently providing meals to an average of 200 people per month, and, on average, 82% of those clients receive meals fully or partially subsidized by Meals on Wheels.

Meals on Wheels is determined to deliver hot meals to all of our neighbors for whom these meals are medically necessary, regardless of ability to pay. In our 30 year history, we have never had a waiting list, never turned a needy client away; how can we ask a hungry neighbor to wait for food?

We have a dedicated volunteer force of over 270 people – 30 per day -- who pack and deliver meals, some of whom comprise our Board of Directors. Paid staff includes three part time employees. The University of Virginia donates our office space and utilities. Meals are prepared under the supervision of a registered dietician at the Kluge Children’s Rehabilitation Center, and special diets are available, including: diabetic, renal, sodium-restricted, vegetarian, heart-healthy, and pureed or chopped food.

Meals on Wheels’ operating budget is supported entirely by donations from individuals, businesses and organizations in our community, fundraising events, and payments by those clients who can afford to pay either the full or partial cost of their meals. We are not a United Way agency.

Meals on Wheels is happy to be able to provide “extra” services for its recipients, such as wintertime emergency food bags, birthday cards, Thanksgiving favors, and holiday gifts. These extras would not be possible without the generous help we’ve received through the years from local businesses and community groups.

Meals on Wheels provides a source of daily social contact for people who would otherwise be hungry and alone. It also allows for earlier release from hospitals and long term care facilities and helps keep elderly and disabled persons out of institutions altogether. It can help older married couples to remain together and gives many people the opportunity to live in their own homes for longer periods of time. Because volunteers check on meal recipients every day, people who live alone can feel safe, knowing that someone would notice if anything were to happen to them.

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