Five Cities Meals on Wheels is proud of our history. Since 1975, we have been able to reach into our community and offer a helping hand to our homebound neighbors facing personal health challenges. Over the years, we have been able to make a difference in our community and in the thousands of lives we have served.
This is how the history of Meals on Wheels began; people wanting to make a difference in their community by reaching out to those in need. Great Britain was the first country to establish Meals on Wheels. It was originated by the Women’s Volunteer Service for Civil Defense. There was so much devastation from the bombing raids during World War II, that these women delivered meals to those left homeless or unable to prepare meals themselves.
The first home delivery of Meals on Wheels, in the style we know today, was also in England after the war, in 1947. Many of these deliveries used old prams with straw bails, covering the meals with felt hats, to keep them warm during transit.
Australia was the next country to establish Meals on Wheels, in 1952. It wasn’t until January 1954, that the United States began it’s first Meals on Wheels in Philadelphia. Most of the volunteers that delivered meals were high school students. These students were soon nick-named, “Platter Angels”.
Columbus, Ohio followed, and was the first city to establish a community-based Meals on Wheels program. It wasn’t long before cities nationwide developed similar programs, establishing The Meals on Wheels Association of America.
Five Cities Meals on Wheels grew from a group of interested community residents that saw a need in the community that was not being addressed. The first meals were prepared in the homes of the volunteers. As demand grew for their services, they needed to find kitchen facilities to accommodate their larger client base. The community stepped forward and larger kitchen facilities were found in local churches. Now they had larger facilities, more clients, and a lot more responsibility to the community. In order to better meet those responsibilities, they needed to Incorporate.
On June 25, 1975 these community volunteers applied to the State of California for Articles of Incorporation. The original application stated:
The purpose for which this corporation was formed are:
Our application was granted and we became the Incorporated entity of Five Cities Meals on Wheels, on August 11, 1975.
We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We are not subsidized by either the State or Federal Government, except for USDA and FoodBank contributions.
We offer assistance to all ages and economic levels of homebound residents, who need a helping hand to meet or maintain their basic dietary requirements. Some of our clients have physical limitations that are acute and require only short-term assistance; such as a post-surgical patient, hip replacement or broken shoulder or leg. Other clients are long term. This can be due to a chronic disease state, traumatic accident or injury, or the elderly.
Over the years, we have been able to assist thousands of your homebound neighbors remain in the comfort and security of their home environment for as long as appropriate.
In the years to come, our goal is to continue our compassionate connection and watchful caring eye on the health and safety of our community. Offering a helping hand to those in need, and helping to build a healthy community, one meal at a time.