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Why Home-Delivered Meals?

Good nutrition and social connections are vital for healthy living. Older adults in Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham Counties have access to both through the home-delivered meals program, as healthy, well-balanced meals are delivered by friendly volunteers directly to the participants’ homes.

For many, this program can make the difference between going hungry and feeling nourished at the end of the day. Participants may receive hot, cold, or frozen meal options. Many of the participants we serve struggle with food resources, and this program provides an opportunity to protect against food insecurity. While some participants may be enrolled for a longer period, our home-delivered meals program serves many individuals for a shorter amount of time to provide nourishment during temporary situations, such as recovery from surgery or other life-altering circumstances.

Beyond providing good nutrition, adults also benefit from the caring and compassionate relationships they build with the volunteers who deliver them. Because many participants live alone or with ailing spouses, having someone check on them each day supports their sense of well-being and helps them feel safe. Meals on Wheels also supports participants’ independence. There are many older adults in our communities who have basic needs, that, if met, allow them to stay in their homes and lead independent lives.

Who is eligible for Meals on Wheels?

An assessment is completed for each potential home delivered meals participant to determine eligibility based on state and federal standards. Generally, a person is eligible if they are:

  • 60 years of age or older, at home when meals are deliver, and (one of the following)
    • Unable to obtain or prepare nutritious meals
    • Living with an adult in the same residence who is not able to prepare nutritious meals
    • Confined to their home or unable to leave their home under normal circumstances
    • Unable to participate at a Congregate Dining Site because of physical or emotional difficulties
    • Able to feed themselves
  • Or the spouse or partner of someone age 60 or older
  • Or an individual living with a disability who is under age 60 and resides with a person eligible or receiving Meals on Wheels
  • Or, in certain circumstances, an unpaid caregiver age 18 or older

Who makes referrals?

Physicians, family members, friends, neighbors or individuals themselves can make referrals. After the initial call to refer a senior to the program, a home-delivered meals representative will contact the participant to schedule a visit to their home. This is done to determine if the client is eligible for the service.

How much does it cost?

Participants are given the opportunity to donate towards the cost of the meals. An individual is never denied a meal if they do not have the resources to contribute.

Make an online contribution toward your home-delivered meals.

What kinds of meals are available?

A wide variety of balanced meals are delivered at noontime Monday through Friday. Hot or frozen meals are available for older adults who need food on weekends and holidays. All home delivered meals are salt restricted and contain the vitamins and nutrients an older adult needs. A doctor’s diet prescription is necessary for the following diets:

  • Texture Modified, which is ground meat, finely chopped, or soft foods
  • Liquid diet

Who delivers the meals?

Home-delivered meals are dependent on one of the largest groups in the tri-county area. Dedicated individuals give one or more hours a month delivering meals. These volunteers come from all walks of life and receive background checks before delivering routes. Many work for businesses or are members of organizations or places of worship that sponsor meal routes. To find out how you can help, email [email protected] or apply at www.tcoa.org/volunteer. Training is provided and there are always staff for backup and support.

Who pays for the meals?

Federal and state funds are provided through the Bureau of Aging, Community Living, and Supports (ACLS Bureau.) These funds cover a large part of the cost of the Meals on Wheels program. Grants from Clinton, Eaton and Ingham Counties and the cities of Lansing and East Lansing, Friends for Independence (the fundraising arm of TCOA) and participant and community donations all contribute to the financial needs of this important service.

Where do I call?

Tri-County Office on Aging

5303 S. Cedar St., Bldg. 1, Lansing, MI 48911-3800

Please call the Nutrition Program at 1-888-224-3030.

Are there places where seniors can get together and enjoy a meal with friends?

Adults who are 60 years of age and older are invited to attend one of the Congregate Dining Sites located throughout Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham Counties. Meal guests enjoy good company and wholesome food, as well as a variety of education and entertainment programs. There is no charge for these meals, but donations are welcome. To find out more about Congregate Dining Sites call: 517-887-1393.

Are Meals on Wheels offered in other parts of the country?

Yes, use the Meals on Wheels America website at www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org and enter your ZIP code to find your closest service provider.

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