6 Things You Didn’t Know About Meals on Wheels

By Colleen Morrissey

Meals on Wheels is one of the best-known supports for older adults in America. The program operates in nearly every community nationwide, providing nutritious food in part through funding from the Older Americans Act. Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) offers the program to people age 60 and older, and also to younger people with disabilities who live in elderly/disabled housing.

Colleen Morrissey is a Resource Specialist at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services.

Here are a few things you might not know about this essential service:

  1. The food delivery serves as a check-in. Meals on Wheels drivers bring meals to the door, with a smile and a greeting. It not only serves as a friendly visit, but also a safety check. If a client doesn’t answer the door, we notify their emergency contact and can contact emergency services if necessary.
  2. We offer a wide variety of options. We provide cultural meals, including Chinese, Caribbean, and vegetarian meals, to better serve our clients. We also supply special diets to accommodate health conditions such as diabetes, cardiac issues, gluten sensitivity/allergy, or the need for ground or pureed food. We can supply hot, frozen, or bagged meals, according to each person’s needs.
  3. The delivery schedule can be flexible. We deliver Monday through Friday. Some people choose to have meals delivered 5 days a week. Others request meals only on a few days throughout the week, while others have enough frozen meals brought once a week. We work with each client to find the best fit.
  4. Spouses can also benefit. If one person in a household is eligible for Meals on Wheels, we can include meals for their spouse.
  5. You can eat in a community setting. We take meals to people at home, but we also oversee a congregate meal program so that people can enjoy breakfast, lunch, or supper in a social setting. Older adults can use our Dine Card as proof of eligibility to attend free weekly lunch and supper programs at locations throughout Cambridge and Somerville.
  6. Meals are free. SCES distributes meals at no cost to people who are determined to be eligible through an assessment process. We send a donation request letter once a month, but no one is turned away because of an inability to pay.


For more information about Meals on Wheels or congregate meals in Somerville and Cambridge, please contact SCES at 617-628-2601 or visit the Nutrition page on our website, eldercare.org.