Our Mission

Our mission is to improve overall health and safety for Whittier Area residents by using local volunteers to deliver affordable meals with a personal check-in to those who are homebound because of illness, accident,
convalescence or disability and are unable to shop and prepare food for themselves.

Volunteer Facts 2023

This year over 165 people from 14 to 91 years old delivered for Whittier Meals on Wheels.

National Charity League mothers and daughters provided 29 delivery teams this June, 33 teams in July and 13 teams in August.

10 Teams of young adults with disabilities from WUHSD’s Transition Program and several non-profit support agencies volunteer for us every week to gain community work experience.

A Little History

Meals on Wheels service was started in post-War London, reportedly with women using prams to carry food to those who could not manage for themselves. By 1954, the idea had crossed over to the United States, first in Philadelphia. Our own organization, Whittier Meals on Wheels, started in 1971 after Mifflin’s Market closed. Mifflin’s had been the only grocery offering home delivery in Whittier at that time. Nationally, the spotlight was on services for the aging at this time. Locally, it was vital for seniors who could not shop and prepare their own food to have delivery of affordable, nutritious, ready-to-eat meals. A group of civic-minded local women put the wheels in motion and our volunteer service began.

Surviving Covid

The impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic on our community was unforgettable. Clients were at high risk. Rather than handing their meals in with a friendly chat, we had to mask and avoid contact. Turnover was high. Meal pickup at the hospital was risky, requiring temperature checks, careful hygiene and masking. Many volunteers, seniors themselves, had to isolate at home. We lost half of our regular volunteers within a week of March 13, 2020. But new heroes rose to the occasion. Despite ever-changing challenges, our office staff never missed a day. Neither did our clients. An out-of-work UPS driver handled double routes, hospitality workers laid off from restaurants and hotels came to help. Our local hospital could no longer use volunteers. Several came to us then and have stayed. National Charity League mothers suddenly available during the day stepped in with their daughters, now virtual students who studied from the car while driving deliveries. We are so grateful for the extra service given by so many to keep us going. Time passed, vaccines became available and regular volunteers began to return. In December 2023, we are still emerging from this difficult time, as you may be, with a new understanding of what is most important and an appreciation for all we have.

I don’t know what I would have done without Meals on Wheels, not just for the food, but for the conversation and friendship with the volunteers. LM