Fighting Senior Hunger In Delaware: An Interview With Meals On Wheels DE

Our Fight Hunger Photo Contest asked nonprofits to submit a photo that visually narrated how they contribute to hunger relief in their community, accompanied by a short description. We’d like to thank every nonprofit that took the time to share their story with us. Every single entry was inspiring, touching and most importantly, a call to action for people everywhere to make a difference.

We are excited to announce that Meals On Wheels DE is the lucky winner of our contest! Meals on Wheels DE is specifically focused on fighting senior hunger in Delaware. Senior hunger is a growing problem in America. In fact, according a study conducted by Oregon State University, seniors with limited physical mobility were five times more likely to suffer from food insufficiency than their abled peers.

Cassandra Boyce, Marketing and PR Director at Meals On Wheels DE, spoke with us about recruiting volunteers, fighting hunger and recognizing outstanding volunteers.

Q: What does hunger look in Delaware?

A: Hunger has many faces in a small state like Delaware and financial restrictions aren’t the only limitations to receiving nutrients. Many of the seniors we serve have physical or age-related conditions that restrict their ability to shop or cook for themselves—Meals On Wheels is their only option.

Meals On Wheels Delaware (MOWD) is a nonprofit organization working with five meal-providing agencies and thousands of volunteers to feed hungry, homebound seniors throughout the State of Delaware. Through various fundraising events and direct mail campaigns during the year, MOWD is able to raise private funds to disperse to the participating agencies. Our organization is truly volunteer drive—without the help of hundreds of volunteers we would not be able to reach the thousands of seniors we deliver to on a daily basis.

Q: How does Meals On Wheels DE fight hunger?

A: MOWD ensures no senior is placed on a waiting list to receive a hot, nutritious meal daily—this is something few states can say they’ve accomplished. As federal funding often runs out half way through the year and organizations are often unable to meet the need, MOWD steps in to provide hot meals to the elderly community. MOWD serves nearly 4,000 homebound seniors throughout the State of Delaware. In fact, last year our dedicated volunteers delivered over 600,000 meals.

Q: What makes Meals on Wheels different from other hunger relief organizations? A: Alternatives for our seniors are few; due to ill health, lack of resources, or age-related conditions they are unable to shop or prepare food for themselves. Consistent meal deliveries provide more than basic comfort – nutritious meals sustain their physical strength, while our dedicated volunteers bring hope for their hearts. More often than not MOWD volunteers are the only interaction our seniors have all day; these small interactions at times can mean more than the nutritional sustenance the volunteer delivers.

Q:What would you say is the key to recruiting and maintaining dedicated volunteers?

A: Finding the right fit for each volunteer is important. Giving them an opportunity to enjoy using their talents and skills to make a difference in our community is the best way to keep people coming back. Some of our most dedicated volunteers are those who have a personal connection with the cause. Perhaps a friend or family member received services from Meals On Wheels in the past and were inspired to do the same for others in their community. We also have wonderful volunteers from Delaware’s strong community of businesses and organizations that support our fundraising events as well as volunteers to deliver meals each week. And many of our volunteers see the importance and value in the way we treat seniors in their most sincere time of need.

Q: How are volunteers recognized for their work?

A: We make sure all our event volunteers receive a personal thank you for the time and effort they put into making our fundraising events such a success. In addition, each year around the holidays we send a small token of our appreciation to the volunteer drivers throughout the state a gas card, as most volunteers pay for their own gas throughout the year. We also keep key volunteers up to date with news from Meals On Wheels and involve them in the planning early on—keeping their involvement high allows volunteers to be the driving force behind our mission.

Learn more about Meals on Wheels DE here.

Check out our Fight Hunger Photo Contest album on Facebook.

How is your nonprofit fighting hunger?

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