Meals on Wheels NEI: Serving with Purpose

Community Spotlight: Meals on Wheels NEI (2/3)

The Adelante Center focuses on developing programs and projects that benefit Lake County and the surrounding areas. In this week's Community Spotlight, we've connected with Meals on Wheels NEI to better understand their perspective on the current state of food access in the area, and how they’re going above and beyond to serve their recipients. Adelante Center's indoor, year-round, urban farms supply fresh vegetables and herbs to Meals on Wheels of Northeastern Illinois so they can provide their clients with healthy, local produce as part of their meals.

Continue reading our Meals on Wheels NEI spotlight series for more insight!

This is a text interview with content provided by Meals on Wheels NEI's Executive Director, Deborah Morganfield.

Content has been updated to suit video format. Below is a transcription of the video.


Q: It's clear that you're doing more than what's expected to increase access to food, especially by providing different meal choices. How else are you going above and beyond the expectations for meals?

A: We've noticed that food insecurity is more than just an economic issue, especially for many of our older adult recipients. Many have difficulty preparing meals due to physical challenges.

Whether it's due to their inability to stand, struggling with arthritic hands, or vision issues- we have to be respectful of that. And others struggle with mental or cognitive challenges like early onset dementia, which can make meal prep more complicated. We also take special diets into consideration as we make each dish. Like diabetic, renal, low sodium, etc. Meals on Wheels is dedicated to respectfully serving meals that fit our recipients’ needs.

In other words, you shouldn't have to sacrifice the foods you enjoy, especially if you aren't feeling well.

This is demonstrated in the dignified meals we provide, with garnishes meal choices, special holiday offerings, and little extras to make our clients feel respected.

"More than a Meal" is a slogan we like to use to identify the informal, well checks that are done with each meal delivery. Our volunteers take time to get to know our clients and report any changes to the client coordinator. In the case of an emergency, calls are made directly to 911.

We also recognize the significance of the companionship that pets provide to our homebound clients. That is why we have started the Animeals program. If a client is struggling to secure food for their pet, a weekly bag of pet food and treats are included with their delivery. For our feline lover clients, we'll even include kitty litter with their order.


Q: How can the community get involved or better support your organization?

A: Donations are critical to the success of the organization. More than 80% of our clients receive a reduced meal fee, so the cost to provide those meals is far greater than the amount we receive in meal fees. Donations allow us to cover food costs as well as equipment, building staff, insurance, and so many other critical expenses.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and information with us today.


For more information on how to get involved with The Adelante Center or Meal on Wheels of Northeastern Illinois, check out the links below.


The Adelante Center Resources:

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Meals on Wheels NEI Resources:

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Our Mission:

"Meals on Wheels Northeastern Illinois fosters health and contributes to the individual well-being and independence by delivering nutritious meals and medically prescribed diets and by providing other supportive services to the home-bound, elderly, disabled, and persons temporarily unable to care for their nutritional needs."

- Meals on Wheels of Northeastern Illinois


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