Meals on Wheels

Nonprofit Serving More Ill, Elderly and Disabled Clients Than Ever Due to Ongoing Pandemic

With life expectancy at a record high of 79 years, even the most independent of persons may experience physical declines and financial hardship that can strip away that independence. Add into the equation the increase in geographic mobility of families and we are left with millions of seniors alone and in need.

This is where Meals on Wheels America and our local Meals on Wheels in Norman step up. The organization does more than provide food; they strive to improve the mental health of isolated recipients.

Meals on Wheels began serving the Norman community on Jan. 21, 1972. They partner with Norman Regional Health System to provide nutritious meals and offer support to the ill, elderly and disabled. Volunteers develop relationships, and clients look forward to daily visits.

Since the pandemic's start, Meals on Wheels of Norman has seen a 300% increase in new clients monthly. With 900 individuals served a year and 350 meals served a day, it’s easy to see the vital mission this organization serves in our community.

People age 85 and up represent the most rapidly growing segment of the American population, with the number of seniors predicted to double over the next three to four decades. The 2 million national Meals on Wheels volunteers are struggling to keep up with this rapid growth, and it will take a huge increase in volunteers and resources to meet the growing needs. Locally, Meals on Wheels has 21 routes, requiring 105 volunteers weekly.

Volunteers are needed for distributing meals Monday through Friday during the noon hour. Regular drivers, as well as backup drivers who can fill in as needed, are the backbone of the organization. This is often the only contact the client receives each day.

Sadly, some of that face-to-face contact has been curtailed during the pandemic to protect both clients and volunteers. While contactless delivery is now practiced, staff and volunteers strive to keep communication open.

Volunteer options include hosting canned food, nutritional drink and pet food drives. Shelf-stable meal services have more than doubled during the pandemic. Financial contributions also are welcomed. A month’s worth of meals costs $20,000 to $22,000.

Readers may also contribute to the organization’s Brown Baggin' It campaign. Supporters are asked to donate money they would normally use toward eating out or "to-go orders" to help provide meals to seniors in need.

And Bare Property Management will present its Meals on Wheels Golf Scramble at the Trails Golf Club on July 12. A virtual silent auction is planned in conjunction with the scramble on Monday, June 14.

Meals on Wheels of Norman

P.O. Box 1371 /  528 E. Main St.

Norman, OK 73070



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