Meals on Wheels provides physician prescribed, home-delivered meals to older adults and other homebound persons unable to prepare adequate meals due to illness, disability or age. Our MOW program is not affiliated with the national organization, and receives no state or federal funding. We rely solely on recipients covering the cost of the meals and individual donors who supplement the costs for those who cannot afford the meals.

MOW Volunteers in Action

What is Meals on Wheels?
Christian Nursing Service (CNS) began Meals On Wheels (MOW) in 1969 to provide nutritious and inexpensive hot lunches and cold sack dinners to senior citizens. CNS volunteer nurses, doing home visits, recognized that many seniors were not able to prepare their own meals. So, the CNS Board began MOW to provide a hot lunch and a cold sack dinner five days a week. Later, MOW added frozen dinners for the weekend. They began with sixteen clients and now have over sixty. Today, with volunteers from various churches and other organizations, Montgomery County Free Clinic, Inc. continues MOW.
Who Does It Serve?
Most clients are over sixty years old living alone or with their spouse in their own home; they are not homeless. A few clients are younger than 60 living alone and unable to prepare their own meals because of some disability. A few clients are with MOW for a short time while they are recovering from surgery or an illness. Many of the clients have limited financial support and access to other sources of food, such as family. Some clients can afford the meals but for health reasons are unable to prepare their meals. Most clients pay some or all the cost of the meals.
What is the Cost of the Meals?
The average cost for a client who gets meals seven days a week, hot meals for five days and frozen meals on the weekend is about $100 per month:
Meal TypeDaily CostWeekly CostMonthly Cost
Hot meal$ 2.75$ 13.75$ 50 - $ 57
Sack meal (cold)$ 2.25$ 11.25$ 45 - $47
Hot meal and Sack meal$ 5.00$ 25$ 100 - $ 110
Hot meal and sack with frozen meals for weekend$ 30.50$ 122 - $ 152
Is Assistance Available?
While $100/month/client is very inexpensive, not all clients are able to pay the full amount. Indeed some are unable to pay any. When a client is accepted into the program, we make sure that the client receives appropriate support. On average, Montgomery County Free Clinic, Inc.  pays about $300/month for clients’ food. Sponsors pay another $700 per month. Assuming 60 clients, the monthly cost is $6,000, so about 83% of the cost is paid by clients and 17% by sponsors and Montgomery County Free Clinic, Inc. . Difficulties arise when clients can’t or won’t pay their bills.  We try to work with clients to find a way to support them so that they can continue to receive lunches.
Who Packages and Delivers the Meals?
Meals on Wheels depends on volunteers to package the meals and to deliver the meals. MOW has volunteer coordinators for more than 13 organizations including Kiwanis, Wabash Retirees, and many churches. Individuals also can participate. The program is in need of volunteers for driving, substitute drivers and packagers. Anyone interested should contact Isobel Arvin at 362-6226 or Brad Mullendore (drivers.mow@gmail.com).

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The story of the “MOW Restaurant”

Every weekday except Thanksgiving and Christmas volunteers gather at the kitchen of Franciscan Health Crawfordsville to package and deliver hot lunch meals and cold sack dinner meals to about 60 clients.

Tuesday Menu
Along with meals, volunteers deliver menus to the clients on Tuesday for the following week. A typical menu has choices for each day. For example, on Monday, a typical menu has two choices of main course–Garlic Cheddar Chicken or Roast Beef; a starchy vegetable–mashed potatoes or rice pilaf; and a second vegetable–broccoli, or mixed vegetables. The client chooses one from each group for each day. During the week, there are many choices for the main dish including: lagona chicken, herb roast pork, grilled chicken, meat loaf, chicken and noodles, country fried steak, tilapia or salisbury steak. There are two choices for each day.
Thursday or Friday Menu
Volunteers pick up the menus on Thursday and Friday and leave them at the hospital. The kitchen manager gathers the menus, checks each menu to be sure that the choices match the diet prescribed for the client, and then prepares each clients order for the following week. Clients may also choose to add a sack-meal for their evening meal. The kitchen staff then prepare labels for each hot meal and sack meal.
Packaging the Meals
Each weekday morning, two volunteer packers arrive at the hospital between 9:00 and 9:30 AM. They are responsible for making sure the hot meals are packed into aluminum containers and labeled and cold meals are packed into sacks. They have to be certain that the meal matches the client’s order. They then place the hot meals in delivery-order into insulated containers and the sacks into plastic bins. For example, diabetics receive fruit instead of a brownie. They need to have everything ready by 10:45 AM.
Delivering the Meals
Five groups of volunteers gather at Franciscan Health Crawfordsville’s kitchen at 10:45 AM to pick up the hot meals and sacks for their route. They also pick up a list that provides the delivery route with client names; if the client gets a sack dinner in addition to a hot meal; and the route directions. On Mondays they also get a pouch with change so that they can collect payment for the previous week’s food. At each client’s home, the volunteer delivers the meals and checks to be sure all is well. If the volunteer can’t raise the client he or she calls the coordinator. The coordinator then calls the contact person. After the last meal is delivered, the volunteer returns to the hospital, with the Monday drivers returning the money collected and the carriers.