The mission of Northwest Assistance Ministries Meals on Wheels is to serve nutritious meals to those unable to cook or shop for themselves. It also strives to provide companionship.
“Meals on Wheels helps [seniors] to maintain independent living in their own house for as long as they possibly can,” Senior Program Services Director, Grace Jackson said.
The meals come from a Houston-based food service company that prepares the meals and delivers them to NAM’s three sites where volunteers pick up the food and deliver them.
The program could not exist without the support of volunteers, Media Specialist Tatiana Shams said.
“We couldn’t do this job without our volunteers,” she said. “They’re the lifeblood of Meals on Wheels.”
A dietician designs the meals according to the recommended daily allowance, so the food meets the national standard for nutrition, Jackson said. NAM meets with the dietician on a quarterly basis to plan the meals.
She said participants love chicken, fish and salads but shun anything with cabbage in it. Broccoli is not popular, but the strawberry shortcake is.
The program extends beyond meal deliveries. If case managers realize an individual’s particular need, other items are offered, such as fans for hot summer days.
“We know seniors love their pets, so we have just started our pet programs, and volunteers take food for the person, but the pet food to the client’s pet,” Jackson said.
Items, such as the fan and pet food, are garnered through donations and some from private foundations. NAM Meals on Wheels is funded in part through Harris County.
Individuals qualify for assistance by expressing a disability or illness that prevents them from shopping at the store and cooking for themselves, Jackson said. Interaction with other people is key to seniors maintaining their independence.
Bill Molony, who receives daily meals because Parkinson’s disease prevents him from driving, discovered the program through a notice on his apartment bulletin board. He appreciates that Meals on Wheels delivers fresh produce with his meals. If he did not receive the deliveries, he would eat frozen meals each day.
“I’m not much of a cook,” he said. “I’d burn myself down or poison myself—one or the other.”
He also looks forward to the visits.
“Having someone come in the door and say ‘Hey’—they’re always smiling and always happy—that’s wonderful and brightens up the day,” Molony said.
Potential volunteers can call the numbers below for the location at which they are interested in volunteering.
15555 Kuykendahl Road, Houston
West satellite office at Windwood
19555 Spring Cypress Road, Houston 281-378-4170
Bear Creek location at Lifepath Church
17703 W. Little York Road, Houston
281-855-0222, ext. 303