by Marina Andalon
Meals on Wheels operates in various communities throughout the country. There are over 5,000 independently run local programs and one happens to reside in Santa Monica.
Meals on Wheels West is located at 1823 Michigan Ave and has been a certified nutrition program since 1999. They continue their dedication to nourishing people’s lives by serving them a hot lunch, snack and a cold dinner. This program would not be possible if it was not for the volunteers who go out on the road and deliver food.
“I was assigned by my nutrition professor to go volunteer and I became hooked,” said Santa Monica College student Alexandra Franke. “I think everyone in the community should participate and try it out. The program has opened my eyes to what Santa Monica really looks like and this is one of the easiest ways to give back.”
Franke wanted to do more, she suggested the idea of volunteering on Thanksgiving rather than spending hours and money on a big fancy dinner.
“I was happy that my family was on board with this idea,” said Franke. “I am looking forward to going on the routes with my family and wishing people a happy Thanksgiving along with some delicious food.”
Speaking of the food, Meals on Wheels changed their menu a bit. Making the food holiday friendly.
Meals on Wheels West Executive Director, Chris Baca explains the meals need to be nutritious and healthy for our clients so we watch the portion size. He said, “This year we will be serving Turkey breast, gravy, dressing, green beans, low sodium corn bread, mash potatoes, fresh fruit salad and a low sugar pumpkin pie.”
Every weekday around 10:30 a.m. volunteers pick up about ten meals for delivery and deliver to clients in Santa Monica, Venice, Marina Del Rey, and Pacific Palisades. Volunteers run into a variety of clients, mainly senior citizens.
“People are surprised that there is a hidden hunger in even the most affluent communities, “said Baca. “Around 18% of Santa Monica residents are food insecure.”
According to the Meals on Wheels website, one in six seniors struggles with hunger. It also states there are 1,431,062 isolated seniors in California that are living alone and 83% of seniors say the program improves their health.
Not only are individual’s giving their time, but also is a Santa Monica based company Watt.
“I started volunteering by myself almost eight years ago, and gradually others within the company started to join me,” said Watt Vice President, Mark Humphries.
“Watt was founded almost 70 years ago and the founder, Ray Watts was a strong believer of giving back to the community. As a company and individuals we do our best to volunteer every week with Meals on Wheels, and it is time well spent.”
Meals on Wheels is thankful for each volunteer, and the generous donations from the community. Donating could be setting two hours aside each week to deliver hot meals or giving $40, which could feed five people a hot lunch and dinner for one full day.
For more information about Meals on Wheels West, visit their website.