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Meals on Wheels works to reduce senior hunger one meal at a time in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties.
Senior Nutrition Services has operated nutrition programs for seniors in Berrien, Van Buren and Cass Counties, since 1988. In 2012, we were granted the dba Meals on Wheels of SW Michigan (MOWSWM) for our programs. Daily, w e serve approximately 300 congregate meals to active seniors and 250 home delivered meals to frail, homebound seniors. MOWSWM provides the hot lunches that are served at all the senior centers and many community sites in the three counties. These meals are designed for active seniors (60 +) to enjoy a fresh and nutritious meal while socializing with their peers and engage in activities, celebrations and educational sessions.
We also provide Home Delivered Meals throughout the predominantly rural Berrien and Van Buren counties for seniors ( 60+ ) who are homebound and not able to shop or cook for themselves. This program provides a hot noon meal delivered to the senior's home by 10 paid and 27 volunteer drivers. For seniors at highest risk for malnutrition, options include a second meal (known as a supper sack) and liquid nutritional supplements by prescription. Priority is given to the seniors with greatest need: very frail, older seniors with low income, minority clients or clients with social or handicapped needs. We work closely with other organizations such as Lakeland Hospital, nursing homes, home health care agencies, Area Agency on Aging and Hospice at Home, in a strong referral network that seeks to support seniors aging in place.
Program goals are:
• To provide a source of nutrition for area seniors
• To support the health and safety of seniors through daily meals and social opportunities, both at home and at meal sites
One of the hallmarks of the SNS Meals on Wheels of SW Michigan programs are that we do not charge for each meal. Rather, we ask for a donation . Many of our clients are not able to make even a small donation towards the cost of their meal, because of limited income and the difficult choices that they must make daily between food and medicine; utilities and rent.
While the meal is the reason that we enter clients’ homes, the often unacknowledged other benefits of the home delivered meals program are the daily wellness check and the social visit with our caring drivers. For most of our clients, our driver is the only person they see on a daily basis. While loneliness alone may not kill, it has a deleterious impact on an isolated senior’s health. Our drivers have walked into a home to find a senior has fallen, had an episode or worsened during the night, prompting us to call family and/or 911.