One in 12 area seniors live in poverty, and nearly 16,000 lack consistent access to the food they need for an active, healthy life, according to Meals on Wheels of Oklahoma City.
This winter, Oklahoma City Community Foundation is continuing its tradition of helping to provide warm meals to homebound elderly citizens by awarding $60,200 in grant money to more than 50 area churches and organizations at the heart of Central Oklahoma’s mobile meals effort, including Meals on Wheels of Oklahoma City, Meals on Wheels of Norman and Edmond Mobile Meals.
“When we think of hunger, we generally think of people in faraway lands. But drive down any street in Oklahoma City, and you’re likely to pass the home of a senior – probably several seniors – receiving home-delivered meals,” said Chris Lambert, director of Meals on Wheels of Oklahoma City.
Volunteers with area churches and organizations provide nutritious meals, wellness checks and meaningful contact to more than 1,900 homebound Central Oklahoma seniors who are unable to prepare their own meals. Meals on Wheels of Oklahoma City took over operation of the central Oklahoma program last summer and is expanding its coordination efforts to serve more people and more neighborhoods.
“Meals on Wheels is not available in some areas of Oklahoma City,” he said. “There’s just so much need and some people don’t even know we’re here. Meanwhile, none of these churches receive state or federal funding for the meals they prepare. It’s the continued generosity of organizations like Oklahoma City Community Foundation and its donors that allows them to keep serving our most vulnerable neighbors.”
Since 2008, the Community Foundation has distributed more than $400,000 in support of the Central Oklahoma mobile meals program.
“The well-being of our senior citizens has deservedly become an increased focus for a lot of our donor-directed grants,” said Nancy B. Anthony, Oklahoma City Community Foundation president. “To round out our 50th anniversary year, we have again partnered with more than 50 churches and Meals on Wheels organizations to help ensure no senior in this community will go hungry this winter.”
Funding is provided by a variety of donors who have made charitable gifts to support services for elderly citizens through the Oklahoma City Community Foundation’s iFund program. The gifts are pooled together, and grants are awarded to programs like Meals on Wheels that help central Oklahoma seniors live independently in their own homes. Learn more about the iFund program at ifundokc.org or make an online gift to support the Services for the Elderly iFund at donate.occf.org.