A closer look at Community Health Services: Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels
Since 1974, Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels (AAMOW), a program of Community Health Services, has worked to reduce hunger and food insecurity in a culturally responsive manner for our homebound adult neighbors in the Ann Arbor area who are unable to shop and prepare nutritious meals for themselves due to their health.
In FY20, AAMOW was able to deliver 140,152 healthy meals to the homes of 424 clients with the support of Michigan Medicine and more than 200 community volunteers.
In the midst of the pandemic, AAMOW has temporarily consolidated meal deliveries from six days/week (Monday-Saturday) to three days/week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) in order to keep clients, volunteers and staff as safe and healthy as possible. Clients continue to receive the same number of fresh, prepared meals each week on this consolidated schedule.
Staff also conduct regular wellness checks over the phone with clients and provide social work support that includes addressing tangible needs through AAMOW’s personal care items pantry and other community resources as well as making referrals to additional community supports.
To be eligible to receive services from AAMOW, individuals must meet the following criteria:
- Be homebound according to the AAMOW definition with the exception of medical appointments and occasional outings
- Need Meals on Wheels for a minimum of three weeks unless otherwise approved.
- Not be able to obtain food or prepare complete, nutritious meals.
- Have a spouse, child, caregiver or another person who is unable/unwilling to provide meals.
- Not be able to participate in a congregate nutrition program.
- Agree to an initial assessment prior to receiving meals (except in emergency situations or for MI Choice Waiver clients) and reassessments every six months thereafter.
- Have dietary needs that can be appropriately met by AAMOW without jeopardizing the health of a client.
- Agree to be home when meals are delivered and follow meal cancellation guidelines.
- Live in AAMOW’s service area.
A client’s spouse or unpaid caregiver may also be eligible to receive meals if AAMOW determines receipt of a meal is in the best interest of the client.
Referrals to AAMOW for eligible individuals can be made by those seeking services as well as their loved ones, caregivers, social workers, medical providers, etc.
Volunteer with Meals on Wheels
Volunteers serve a critical role in helping AAMOW serve neighbors by conducting socially-distanced wellness checks and delivering meals, needed household items and toiletries, as well as cards and activity books to brighten the days of our clients.
Current volunteer opportunities include delivering meals, making handwritten cards of encouragement and supporting AAMOW’s personal care items pantry.
Here are just a few of the words of encouragement and gratitude AAMOW has received recently:
- “I am so grateful for MOW.”
- “Keep up the good work.”
- “I greatly appreciate your service.”
- “I’ve been with you a long time. I really appreciate everything you do.”
- “I just appreciate the help so much as I get stuck at home (all) winter and a lot of the rest of the year and getting food can be very hard to do. Plus, I eat more vegetables that way.”
- “Thank you, and all the volunteers that deliver especially in these times!!”
- “Thanks for the handmade cards.”
- “I truly appreciate this service – the cancer treatments leave me a bit disabled and this service keeps me independent. Thank you.”
- “I’m lucky to have this great service. Thanks to all the volunteers.”
- “Your program is excellent. Staff helpful, knowledgeable. Volunteers are special individuals, very uplifting. Your cheerful, encouraging cards and notes are so much valuable printed information. Thank you!”
- “Thank you so much for your remarkable service. It’s such a great help!”