Meals on Wheels Chicago’s partnership with the City of Chicago began in 1987. Originally incorporated as the Chicago Fund on Aging and Disability, our organization has collaborated with the City to create a unique blend of public and private philanthropy focused on addressing essential services to the homebound. We have expanded our program over the last 33 years to support over 10,000 homebound individuals with 3.2 million home delivered meals annually, with the support of service provider, Open Kitchens. 

The expansion of our home delivery program is a testament to our continued efforts to adapt to our ever-changing society and aging population. Over the past year, this notion has stayed at the forefront of our minds as we widened the safety net for homebound individuals while Chicago battles the threat of COVID-19. Our client population increased by 67% to support those newly affected by food insecurity throughout this unprecedented crisis. We look forward to continuing to act as a pillar of stability for our community as we endure the ramifications of this pandemic. 

When Meals on Wheels Chicago (MOWC) was established, our primary mission was to fill gaps in service due to lack of federal funding. For this reason, a majority of our efforts are directed towards our holiday meal program. We recognize the loneliness and isolation that can surround the holidays and wish to support our Chicago family during these times. We will continue to advocate for our community of homebound individuals by raising the private funds necessary to continue our high standard of service, despite threats of budget cuts at the federal level for programs like ours that support seniors.

Mission 

The mission of Meals on Wheels Chicago is to ensure that Chicago seniors and individuals with disabilities benefit from nutritious meal programs that improve their quality of life and maximize independence.

Meals on Wheels Chicago envisions a community in which all basic needs are met and barriers to achieving independence are eliminated. We achieve this by raising both funds and awareness to support home meal delivery to eligible senior citizens and people with disabilities.

Even the fortunate among us, as we age, will experience a decline in mobility and health which strips us of our independence and diminishes our quality of life. Advances in medicine have extended life expectancies to record highs. One quarter of today’s 65-year-olds will live beyond the age of 90, and their daily chores will turn into insurmountable challenges. Further, maintaining health while aging comes at a price. Without support from programs like Meals on Wheels Chicago, seniors are forced to trade their homes for nursing facilities.

History

Meals on Wheels Chicago has been serving the city’s hungry for 33 years. Originally incorporated as the Chicago Fund on Aging and Disability, our organization collaborated with the City of Chicago to create a unique blend of public and private philanthropy focused on addressing essential services to the homebound. 

Community leaders and the City of Chicago’s Department on Aging and Disability understood how isolating and lonely the holidays could be for the homebound and believed there was a significant need for holiday meal service. They could not have been more right. The very first holiday meal delivery took place on Thanksgiving Day, 1988, to 1,218 homebound seniors.

Today, the Meals on Wheels Chicago Holiday Meal Program serves more than 10,000 of the City’s homebound seniors and individuals with disabilities. Meal recipients tell us our programs improve their health, allow them to stay in the comfort of their homes, and make them feel at ease with the knowledge that someone will be checking on them regularly.

Over 10,000 Chicagoans rely on Meals on Wheels Chicago for weekly meal delivery. The program serves homebound seniors and individuals with disabilities living within city limits. Over 84% of meal recipients say their Meals on Wheels Chicago driver is the only personal contact they have all week.