A Special Thanks to our Volunteers, Sponsors, and Donors

Every year on Thanksgiving, many people celebrate with a bounty of food. We take a moment to remember the things we are grateful for: our families, our home, our health, and anything else that fulfills our lives. In some cases, it gives us an opportunity to appreciate the things that we may normally take for granted during our busy, daily lives. But for Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels clients, the nutritious meals and visits they receive from us are appreciated every day.

Without Ann Arbor MOW and the people who support our program, many of our clients would not eat. Many would not have somebody to check in on them during the hot summers and the cold winters, and give them a friendly smile to let them know that someone cares. We at Ann Arbor MOW are grateful that we can provide this much needed service to our clients, and we are especially thankful to the staff, volunteers, and donors who make it happen.

Your generosity is more than a nice gesture, it is a life-saving act. Nothing illustrates that more than these words of gratitude from the very people you have touched:
− I don’t know what I’d do without you all. Such a very fine and life-saving program. I thank you all with a very full heart.
− I wouldn’t eat if it wasn’t for Meals on Wheels…may the lord bless all of you.
− The volunteers are excellent—caring, friendly, and very much appreciated by me.
− You’re there to help when I can’t help myself.
− You’re all angels at Meals on Wheels. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
− The meals are such a help for me and there is no telling you how much I appreciate this service. Thank you!
− Everything about it and the blessing of it and the friendly people [are what is most helpful]…God bless you all!

These are just a handful of things our clients say about our service. For all who are a part of the Meals on Wheels family, we thank you.

If you have not yet become involved with Ann Arbor MOW, consider joining our program. Whether through a modest monetary donation or a contribution of your time, your participation can change—and save—the lives of many.

One of the best ways to celebrate our blessings is to provide for someone else in need. It is a celebration that can happen throughout the year, one that is deeply appreciated by hundreds of people. Visit our website for information on how you can donate or volunteer at Ann Arbor MOW.

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Providing Nutrition and Peace of Mind

Last week, I had the opportunity to give a presentation to the Ann Arbor Downtown Kiwanis Club about Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels and the Housing Bureau for Seniors. The Kiwanis Club is already familiar with both programs, as they’ve been supporting us for several years. They go a step further with Meals on Wheels and have their own daily route, plus an additional weekly route.

During the Q&A session, several members had questions about the operational side of MOW, shared how much they got out of delivering and their own personal experience with Ann Arbor MOW. One member had heart surgery and the meals were a life saver during his at-home recovery. He wouldn’t have eaten were it not for MOW. Another shared about his experience as an adult child of a parent who was receiving meals from us.

The volunteer showed up at his mom’s house and when they entered the home saw that she appeared to have had a stroke. They called us, we in turn called 911 and the ambulance came and took her to the hospital. She had indeed suffered a stroke. While she never returned home, having moved to a long-term care facility, the family was extremely grateful for the service.

Because we check in with our clients every day, or most every day, we often see older adults more frequently than their family. And sometimes, we serve as that critical lifeline. While most situations we encounter are not true emergencies, like the Kiwanian’s mother, we let family members or emergency contacts know when:
• there are concerns about a client’s hygiene or upkeep of their home,
• we notice a decline in a client’s health or functional status, and
• we can’t reach a client for a scheduled meal delivery.
We provide peace of mind to adult children – especially those who don’t live in the area and can’t check in on their aging relative as often as they’d like.

The delivery of the meal also provides our clients with the opportunity to briefly socialize with our volunteer. For many of our clients, the volunteer is the only person they see all day. We have some volunteers who will save their “favorite” client for last so that they have time to visit without feeling rushed in needing to get to the next stop on the route. I know when I deliver to a client who is lonely or loves to chat, it’s really hard to tell them I can’t visit any longer because I still have 10 meals to deliver!

Our volunteers deliver 10-13 meals, taking 1-2 hours to complete a route. Meals are picked up at our office at 2025 Traverwood Suite F, Ann Arbor at 11:30am Monday – Friday, and at 9:30am or 10:30am on Saturday depending on the time of year (read Michigan football season).

Volunteers can deliver as often as they want. We have some volunteers who deliver once a week, others once a month and some don’t have a regular schedule, but instead serve as subs – coming in when we have an opening. We have parents and grandparents who bring their children, golf buddies, lifelong friends, spouses and partners, service club members….the list goes on!

A few years ago, one of our clients told us “The food event and the social event are each in their own way the most important events of the day for lonely, elderly folks.”

If you have time to give, and want to make a difference among the homebound “lonely, elderly folks” in Ann Arbor who are unable to shop and cook for themselves, we’d love to hear from you!

Give us a call at (734) 998-6686 or send us an email at aamealsonwheels@umich.edu.