Nourish Chicago, A Meals on Wheels Pantry
Nourish Chicago, A Meals On Wheels Pantry, works to put health on the shelf for seniors aged 60 and older. In partnership with the City of Chicago Central West Senior Center, Nourish Chicago is a client-choice pantry – much like a grocery store – providing food and wellness essentials to seniors monthly. This program addresses the high cost of food, limited transportation to grocery stores, and the difficulty of living on a fixed income that limits a senior’s access to fresh produce and essential items. This model fosters dignity and provides fresh, nutrient-rich groceries and high-quality pantry items giving seniors the autonomy to select the food they enjoy while also reducing food waste.
In response to the reduction in SNAP benefits and the ongoing high cost of food, Meals on Wheels Chicago expanded the Nourish Chicago Pantry by adding Pop Up Produce markets once per month to each of the City of Chicago regional senior centers. These Pop-Up Markets run from March–August of 2023 and help address the needs of an additional 7,650 seniors.
Pet Pack Program
As part of the Nourish Chicago Food Pantry, we are providing animal wellness packs for cats and dogs that include a supply of food, preventative medicine or wellness items, and treats and toys to help take care of the pets that are taking care of their senior owners.
For many seniors, pets keep loneliness at bay. Pets provide comfort, joy, and routine – all important to overall health and well-being. But taking care of a pet can be expensive and some seniors skip meals or choose not to pick up a prescription, so their pets don’t go hungry. By providing a monthly supply of food and supplies, Meals on Wheels Chicago is prioritizing the health of seniors and their pets.
Emergency, Shelf-Stable Meals
When budget allows, Meals on Wheels Chicago provides funding for emergency, shelf-stable meals. These are delivered to all clients to serve as back-up meals if regular delivery service is interrupted by extreme weather or other unforeseen circumstances.
Love Notes program
Volunteers make cards that are included in the meal deliveries. This volunteer opportunity is available to everyone from one individual working alone to large corporations. It provides a touchpoint for clients, so they know someone in the community is thinking and cares about their wellbeing.
We serve seniors living in every neighborhood of the city, with most struggling on incomes below the poverty level. After paying for the basic fixed expenses, this leaves only $47 per week for essentials like groceries, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and clothing. This additional wellness pack option is to address these struggles while allowing an opportunity for more choices for corporate engagement. Companies contribute to wellness packs that include items such as toiletries, cleaning supplies, and other items to distribute at the Nourish Chicago Pantry.