Meals On Wheels is celebrating its 60th anniversary of the program in 2018. UR Medicine Home Care, formerly Visiting Nurse Service, established the Meals On Wheels program, the third oldest in the United States, in 1958 and has since served almost 11 million meals throughout Monroe County.
The idea of meals being delivered to people’s homes can trace its roots back to World War Two. The city of Rochester, New York, was the 3rd to begin a home-delivered meal program on March 15, 1958 in a kitchen located at East Avenue. It was originally a pilot project initiated by the New York Department of Health and administered by the Visiting Nurse Service. The Visiting Nurse Service charged participants fees ranging from 50 cents to $1.85 per meal for dues and the Bureau of Chronic Diseases and Geriatrics of the New York Department of Health paid for the remaining costs. Four cars were used to deliver the meals and by the end of the year, 47 people had enrolled in the program.
Meals On Wheels plans to celebrate this momentous occasion all through 2018 with multiple events and programs to help continue raise awareness and funds for the program. On April 24, 2018, Meals On Wheels will be hosting a special fundraiser to celebrate 60 years with guest celebrities. More details to follow. In Monroe County in 2017, Meals On Wheels delivered 216,817 meals to 1,409 recipients with the assistance of 1,900 volunteers in 2017.