Meals On Wheels

What is Meals On Wheels?

Meals On Wheels is a community program that delivers hot, healthy meals to people who are not able to prepare their own meals. It also serves people who cannot leave their homes to shop for food. Usually, the person delivering a meal spends a few minutes talking to the person getting the meal. Having a visitor is another benefit of the program.

How does the program work?

You or your family, friends, or healthcare provider may ask for the delivery of meals. To be eligible for Meals On Wheels, you must be:

  • 18 or older
  • Not able to shop or prepare your own food because of an accident, illness, or frailty
  • Living alone or with someone who is also unable to prepare meals or is absent during the day.

Volunteers deliver the meals 1 to 5 days a week. Usually, the program delivers the noon meal, Monday through Friday. Some programs also deliver food for evening meals. Others provide meals that can be warmed up for the weekends as well.

Most programs can provide meals that meet special diet needs, such as low-salt or meals for people who have trouble chewing or swallowing.

Is there a cost?

Each local program determines its schedule, menus, charges, and policies. Most programs charge a small fee for the meals. Some programs base fees on your ability to pay. Some programs accept food stamps. The program in your area may receive funding from the local United Way, churches, government funding, or grants.

For further information on home delivered meals or other meal programs, contact your local senior center or see the Meals On Wheels Web site at You can also call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2015-02-03
Last reviewed: 2014-12-08
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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