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.

Vision 

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. 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.

Our Programs

History

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 35 years to support thousands of homebound individuals, delivering 4.7 million meals annually with the support of service provider, Open Kitchens. 

Addressing Food Insecurity

Hunger among seniors is growing with over 7 million seniors in the United States struggling with food insecurity. The pandemic exacerbated this situation, leading to more seniors experiencing hunger and loneliness than ever before.

Both people of color and people living with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by food insecurity, with Black seniors experiencing hunger at more than double the rate of white seniors, and for those with a disability, the rate of food insecurity is almost three times higher than for those without a disability.

Seniors often rely on social security to pay for expenses during retirement but find it’s not enough. Among unmarried seniors, 46 percent don’t believe they have sufficient funds for basic food needs. Social security payments are expected to decrease by 20 percent in 2034 and will continue to diminish over time, further straining social safety net programs like Meals on Wheels Chicago.

The Meals on Wheels program provides so much more than a meal. Our program addresses hunger, isolation, and our clients’ overall health and well-being. Deliveries offer our drivers the opportunity to interact with clients, offering friendly conversation and vital safety checks. Loneliness and isolation are as deadly as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and 84 percent of our clients tell us their delivery driver is the only social contact they have all week, making deliveries an important part of the day for clients who live alone.

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, there has never been a waitlist for the Meals on Wheels Chicago program. Your donations help alleviate hunger and isolation today while also helping us prepare for the next 35 years, ensuring our homebound neighbors have the resources they need to stay healthy and independent in their own homes.