Our Mission: Meals on Wheels Rowan provides a nutritious meal delivered by volunteers who offer a friendly greeting and provide an informal safety check to homebound seniors and disabled citizens of Rowan County.
Our Philosophy: Meals on Wheels is committed to a philosophy of serving quality food and growing purposefully in participation and service. Our services will be provided for as long as our participant is homebound, in need of nutritious meals and able to safely age in the place of their choosing.
In 1976, a local volunteer, Jean Anne Ferrier Ramsay, rallied other concerned citizens to discuss hunger-relief programs for homebound citizens in Salisbury. The volunteers discovered homebound seniors who could no longer prepare their own meals. These individuals wanted to stay at home but needed help with meals. The volunteers determined that the Meals on Wheels program model enabled participants to remain at home, live independently, and benefit from a nutritious meal and the brief social exchange with volunteers who delivered the meal.
Origin of Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels originated in Great Britain in 1939. During World War II, the Women's Volunteer Service for Civil Defense delivered prepared meals to disadvantaged neighbors. These volunteers also used canteens that were affectionately called "meals on wheels" to provide refreshments to servicemen. The first home-delivered meals program in the United States started in Philadelphia, PA.
The volunteer organizers established Meals on Wheels Rowan as a non-profit organization and applied for funding through the Rowan County United Way. The group received its first United Way allocation in August 1976. Churches, family foundations, businesses, and individuals offered additional financial support.
Thanks to the efforts of many community members during the late 1970's and 1980's, Meals on Wheels Rowan operated as a volunteer-driven organization. The first part-time "Director" started in 1977. At that time, the Meal on Wheels Rowan office was located in the First Presbyterian Church Education Building in Salisbury.
Various catering services and restaurants provided meals over the years, Catawba College dining services, Rowan Regional Hospital (Novant), the Downtowner Restaurant, Jimmie's in China Grove and CJ's in Cleveland prepared meals for various routes in the county.
The earliest meal recipients lived in Salisbury, were homebound and no longer able to cook or manage their own meals. As the need for services and the support of church volunteer delivery teams grew, Meals on Wheels Rowan added routes that stretched across the county from North to South and East to West.
Many dedicated volunteers delivered meals, coordinated teams, served as board members and officers, assisted with referrals and the selection of caterers.
Meals on Wheels Rowan:
- Serves 225 meals a day, Monday through Friday
- Each week, volunteers deliver 27 routes that cover 511 square miles across Rowan County.
- Participants are homebound senior citizens or disabled individuals who live in the towns, communities and rural areas of Rowan County.
- Each meal provides 1/3 of the recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals for a senior adult.
- The program cost of each meal is $7.00 per meal and includes transportation to meal pick up sites, site coordinators, volunteer recruitment, training, meal coordination, menu planning, assessment of referrals and the meal cost.
- Over 1000 volunteers devote countless hours a year to offering a friendly greeting, delivering a nutritious meal and providing an informal safety check to homebound seniors and the disabled of Rowan County.