JFCS’ Kosher Meals on Wheels program is one of many showing ‘results’
By Annette Sandler • JFCS Aging Services Director
Meals on Wheels has been in the news a lot in recent days. The current administration’s proposed cuts to funding for Meals on Wheels programs and budget chief Mick Mulvaney’s statement that grants for these programs were “not showing any results,” has caused a loud outcry.
JFCS delivers Kosher Meals on Wheels (MOW) to the frailest members of our community. Our clients, many of whom are Holocaust Survivors, are elderly, homebound and have difficulty buying groceries or preparing their own meals. In 2016, we delivered 12,773 meals. One recipient recently called us to say how happy she was with the meals and thrilled that they fit into her low-sodium diet.
Federal funds for MOW are given to states to decide how they might best service the frailest elderly in their communities. In our MOW program 2016 client survey, 96 percent of our clients said MOW helps them maintain their current living condition, 96 percent said the meal has a positive impact on their life, and 90 percent said the meal helps them to maintain their health goals.
The survey results mirror the 2013 National Institute of Health (NIH) review of the program, which stated that MOW significantly improves diet quality, increases nutrient intakes and reduces food insecurity and nutritional risk among participants. In addition, it increased socialization opportunities, improved dietary adherence and higher quality of life.
The NIH review stated that programs like the JFCS Kosher MOW program “are also aligned with the federal cost-containment policy to rebalance long-term care away from nursing homes to home- and community-based services by helping older adults maintain independence and remain in their homes and communities as their health and functioning decline.”
Here at JFCS, we are proud of these strong outcomes we’re helping to achieve through the MOW program.