It’s the 50th anniversary of our Meals on Wheels program!
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Athens Community Council on Aging’s Meals on Wheels program. We are incredibly excited to celebrate this milestone as part of Meals on Wheels America’s 20th annual March for Meals nationwide celebration.
The Meals on Wheels program at ACCA began in 1972 as only the second Meals on Wheels program in the state of Georgia. That first year, 60 older adults were served by 22 volunteers, funded through federal and state dollars.
Now, 50 years later, ACCA’s Meals on Wheels program continues to be a lifeline, delivering more than just a meal. Our team of over 200 volunteers serve delicious, nutritionally balanced meals to 296 older adults in Clarke and Barrow counties each day. During their visits, these volunteers also provide vital safety checks and social connection to isolated seniors.
Funding for the program is now provided by federal, state, and local governments, the United Way, private grants and foundations, faith-based groups, and countless private donors. Through the combined support of community partners, donors, volunteers, and staff, ACCA is able to decrease the risk of hospitalization and nursing home placement and support seniors in their desire to remain living in their homes.
Over the last two years, the Meals on Wheels service model has held up under immense pressure, proving its strength and sustainability as the core of ACCA’s COVID response. For the safety of staff, clients, and volunteers, ACCA suspended all direct service programming at the start of the pandemic. During this time of change, ACCA shifted all of its resources to the Meals on Wheels model, focusing on providing meals, safety checks, and social connection to the many community seniors who sheltered in place.
As the pandemic stretched on, ACCA partnered with Athens-Clarke County, Epting Events, the Northeast Georgia Food Bank, the Athens Farmers Market and many other community partners to expand the Meals on Wheels program to reach all residents in the community who needed access to food. Over the seven months of the Athens Eats Together program, ACCA provided 340,435 meals to almost 10,000 residents, a 4,000% increase in typical service numbers.
We are proud of our rich history of serving the most vulnerable in our community and are thrilled to celebrate our Golden Anniversary with the many local partners who have helped make this possible. Over our 50-year history, we have delivered more than 2.2 million meals to older adults and adults with disabilities in Clarke and Barrow Counties. Together, we deliver a difference, ensuring that all seniors in our community can age and live well.