Each Friday for the last 21 years, Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance employee volunteers have spent their lunch hour delivering meals to those in need through our long-term partnership with Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana (MOWCI). The organization’s mission is to innovate, collaborate and advocate to end hunger and malnutrition for senior, disabled and chronically ill neighbors in the greater Indianapolis area.
“At Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana, we are passionate about making sure no one has to face the dual crisis of hunger and illness. Our volunteers, such as those at Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, partner with us to ensure that our clients receive meals along with wellness checks to make sure they are OK,” says MOWCI Director of Outreach Barb Renshaw. “The social/emotional connection is so vital to many of our clients, and our volunteers provide a bridge to the outside world, even with a quick ‘hello’ and a smile.”
Wendy Caves, manager of employee relations at Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, emphasizes the importance of that human connection. “Volunteering for Meals on Wheels feeds my soul. My coworker, Tracy, and I plan our volunteer dates around the holidays so we can dress up while delivering meals. With anything from bunny ears, pumpkins or even flamingos on our heads, we greet each person with a smile and tell them to enjoy their day. This may be the only interaction that they’ll have all day, so making it fun for them is why we enjoy volunteering with Meals on Wheels so much.”
History of Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana
Throughout history, food insecurity has been a concern for humanity. The original concept for Meals on Wheels (MOW) originated in Great Britain in 1939 when the Women’s Volunteer Service for Civil Defense began serving food to the ill and elderly who were unable to care for themselves. Then in the 1960s, Indianapolis’ Little Red Door Cancer Agency program served meals by truck to cancer patients.
After an array of other pilot studies, Indianapolis-based Meals on Wheels, Inc. started in 1971 with six clients and 10 volunteers out of a local hospital. Today Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana has grown to support 36 local meal delivery routes, each of which serves approximately eight to 12 clients each day.
How to volunteer at Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana
Volunteers pick up medically tailored meals at a nearby hospital/healthcare facility and then deliver to clients living nearby. It typically takes about an hour and a half to deliver the meals during lunchtime. Interested in volunteering with Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana? Check out these additional Volunteer FAQs. Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Meals on Wheels program. There are numerous route opportunities available for volunteers as well as both full and part time paid positions. MOWCI is always looking for additional corporate partners like Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, too, which helps divide the delivery routes over many more volunteers.
“When our company first began delivering meals, I volunteered to help but didn’t know how rewarding it would be for me,” shares IFBI Manager, Marketing Customer Support, Debbie England. “I’m so grateful that Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance continues to support Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana and I encourage others to become involved in delivering meals to those in need!”
How to apply for meal delivery
Could you or someone you know in central Indiana benefit from having some meals delivered by MOWCI? Learn how to apply here! It takes only five to 10 minutes to complete the application and it can be completed by a client or a caregiver on behalf of the client. Typically, new clients begin receiving meals within a week after signing up for services! Financial assistance is available for clients in need. Clients receive two meals per day. For meal delivery service outside of the central Indiana area, please click here.
“Between the COVID-19 pandemic during the last couple of years and the recently increasing gas prices, the need to serve our clients is greater than ever.” adds Hope Steel, volunteer coordinator at MOWCI. “Everyone deserves to have healthy, nutritious and accessible food.”
How to donate to Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana
Meals on Wheels organizations across the country operate independently. MOWCI is privately funded where 87 cents of every dollar goes towards its clients, which means any donation is helpful and has an immediate impact. Click here if you’d like to make a one-time or ongoing donation to Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana.