Our History

In 1987, a partnership between city government and private philanthropy was born.

The Chicago Fund on Aging and Disability (DBA Meals on Wheels Chicago) was created to address funding shortfalls the Meals on Wheels program was experiencing. Seniors were going without meals on six federal holidays and weekends. Meals on Wheels Chicago saw an opportunity to improve the in-home meal delivery program, by providing complete coverage throughout the year, so that no client would go without.

The very first holiday meal delivery took place on Thanksgiving Day, 1988, to 1,218 homebound seniors. Community leaders and the City of Chicago’s Department of Aging and Disability, understood then, how isolating and lonely the holidays could be for the homebound. Additionally, the potential harm in missing meals and compromising health and well-being, was a significant factor in creating the Holiday Meals Program—Meals on Wheels Chicago’s first and most impactful program.

By Thanksgiving Day 1996, the number of individuals served increased to 4,606, a 278% increase.

In MOWC’s 30-year history, the number of clients served has increased and the need will continue to grow as our nation’s population ages. Meals on Wheels Chicago will be there for them, like the thousands who came before. As an organization, our goal is to create broader safety nets to address the pressing needs of our senior and disabilities communities, supporting programs that make an impact in the lives of every client we serve.