For Roxie McDonald, Meals on Wheels Mesa County delivers more than just nutritious food. The relationships formed with the volunteers who bring her lunch have proven to be a true joy and comfort.
“I cannot tell you how much they have helped me,” the 82-year-old Grand Junction resident said. “They offer me encouragement, always with a smile on their faces.”
When Meals on Wheels moved into its new Grand Junction facility at 689 Long Acre Dr. in late 2022, the local nonprofit greatly expanded its service capacity for McDonald and other clients who rely on its deliveries.
“There is such a need right now,” said program director Amanda de Bock. “We saw a big increase in food insecurity during the pandemic, mostly because we told people to stay safe at home. And with inflation and supply chain issues, it’s getting harder and harder to make ends meet financially. So having a supplemental meal each day that you don’t have to worry about has been really helpful for our seniors.”
In partnership with the Food Bank of the Rockies, Meals on Wheels’ new 50,000-square-foot commercial kitchen, warehouse and distribution center allows the program to efficiently increase its current production capacity of 600 and 700 meals a day to more than 1,000. A kitchen team of five staff, plus a volunteer who helps with packaging, comes in every morning at 5 a.m. to get the work done.
“Our new facility has been carefully designed to be ‘plug and play,’ so when our needs change in the future, we can adapt quickly and make any needed adjustments,” de Bock points out.
Sponsored by St. Mary’s Medical Center
Sponsored by St. Mary’s Medical Center, Meals on Wheels has been a Mesa County fixture since its launch in 1970, delivering food to homebound seniors aged 60 and up and serving daily hot lunches Monday through Friday at dining sites where more active clients can gather for social interaction as they eat. Monthly grocery deliveries are also available.
“We have a few supplemental frozen meal options that we can send out for dinners and weekends to people in need,” de Bock adds. “All our meals meet one-third of the daily nutritional requirements for seniors and include protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, a dessert and milk. We know that for more than 83% of our clients, this is their main meal of the day, so we try to make it as filling and calorically dense as possible.”
Good food, delivered and appreciated
McDonald looks forward to reading the Meals on Wheels menus in her Sunday newspaper to see what’s coming up for the week and says she enjoys the lunches she receives, especially the chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy.
“The food is really good,” she’s quick to mention. “They encourage me to eat every bite, and I do the best I can!”
Meals on Wheels suggests a donation of $3.50 per meal, but de Bock says no one is ever turned away because of an inability to pay.
“If you’re a senior who needs food, we’re happy to serve it to you,” she says.
To learn more, visit mealsonwheelsmesacounty.org.