Salisbury, North Carolina-based Food Lion Feeds has donated $450,000 to Meals on Wheels America to support hunger-relief initiatives and expand senior nutrition services in 13 communities where Food Lion operates.
The 13 local Meals on Wheels programs collectively serve 18,000 seniors annually. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, one in eight seniors experienced food insecurity. Since the pandemic, 88 percent of local programs were affected by increases in meal production expenses and labor costs.
The $450,000 is in addition to the $50,000 Food Lion Feeds donated in March in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program, federal legislation that provides funding for nutrition services and helps support programs like Meals on Wheels.
“These meals will immediately impact seniors’ lives and have a lasting result for the organizations at a time when the high demand for Meals on Wheels remains steady,” said Kevin Durkee, manager. “Through this partnership with Meals on Wheels America and these community-based programs, we will make a tangible impact to serve our aging neighbors in the towns and cities we serve. No senior should have to worry about where their next meal will come from.”
In addition to providing seniors access to nutritional meals, the grant funds allow local programs to expand their operations for future sustainability.
“Across the 13 grantee programs, funds will be spent to build capacity through kitchen equipment, as well as marketing and outreach to seniors in hard-to-reach and underserved rural and immigrant communities, sustaining and expanding current meal delivery services, and ensuring future sustainability through staffing and technological investments,” said Uche Akobundu, senior director, nutrition strategy at Meals on Wheels America. “We’re incredibly grateful to Food Lion Feeds for its dedication to our mission and philanthropic commitment to our nation’s seniors.”
Additionally, funding will support local Meals on Wheels programs in reaching older adults with a variety of chronic health conditions and other needs, as well as those who have historically been underserved.
The following local Meals on Wheels programs are receiving grants from Food Lion Feeds:
- Albemarle Commission Senior Nutrition Program, Hertford, North Carolina;
- Cherokee County Meals on Wheels, Gaffney, South Carolina;
- Council on Aging for Henderson County, Hendersonville, North Carolina;
- Fairfield County Council on Aging, Winnsboro, South Carolina;
- Feed More, Richmond, Virginia;
- MAC Inc., Salisbury, Maryland;
- Meals on Wheels of Charlottesville/Albemarle, Virginia;
- Meals on Wheels of Chesapeake, Virginia;
- Meals on Wheels of Durham, North Carolina;
- Meals on Wheels of Orange County, Chapel Hill, North Carolina;
- Meals on Wheels of Rowan County, Spencer, North Carolina;
- Meals on Wheels of Wake County, Raleigh, North Carolina; and
- Senior Citizens Inc., Savannah, Georgia.
“Our community, like all communities, has been challenged by COVID-19 and the increase in need for supportive services, particularly for older adults,” said Rachel Bearman, executive director of Meals on Wheels Orange County, North Carolina.
“Within five months, from March-July 2020, our meal delivery service increased by 39 percent, and it has not decreased since…this funding will enable us to do even more by investing in our organizational capacity to broaden the array of services we offer and expand access to those services to underserved or unserved older adults.”
For more information, visit foodlion.com.