Meals on Wheels People serves and delivers 5,700 meals daily in the greater Portland metro area. About 3,000 of those meals are delivered to homebound seniors who have no other source of fresh food. It is often the meals we bring them that allow these frail elderly peole to remain independent and living in their own homes. Weekend meals assure that they will have a hot, nutritious meal and a friendly visit every single day.
More than 25% of those we serve live at or below the poverty level and the meals we bring them make all the difference. We have also seen a trend, over the past two years, of "younger" seniors -- those between the age of 60 and 65 -- requesting meals. Many of these people have not planned well for retirement, lost their jobs during the great recession and never recovered financially. They are also in poorer health than people in their early 60s were just 10 years ago.
Meals on Wheels People has also made great strides in adapting our menus to appeal to a changing demographic. We now offer a vegetable-based diet daily for those who request them. And, for many years, we have made available the DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) that focuses on whole grains, fruit, veg and lean meats. This diet is appropriate for those who need diabetic, low-sodium and/or low-cholesterol meals.
We frequently hear from the seniors we serve. Here is a letter received recently from Walter and Keiko: Thank you for your generosity. You make all the difference in so many lies. We are grateful for the meals and cherish the people who care about us. We have hot meals daily that we just cannot prepare for ourselves. Your meals are healthy and tasty. Thank you for making our lives better!