“America, Let’s Do Lunch” - Volunteer with Metro Meals on Wheels!

More than 10 million seniors in the United States (that’s 1 in 6) currently face the threat of hunger and 15 million seniors are living alone in isolation. And, each and every day, Meals on Wheels volunteers deliver one million meals to those who need them the most. In Idaho, more than 29,000 seniors are threatened by hunger and over 72,500 are isolated and living alone. In Ada County alone, of the 900 meals prepared daily, 500 meals are delivered to homebound senior citizens.

Meals on Wheels is best known as a food delivery service for the homebound. However, what is not known is how valuable the moments of contact between the volunteer and the recipient can be. For many seniors, the volunteer who delivers their meal is the only person they will see that day. The delivery isn’t just about nourishment; it’s about a beneficial moment of human connection. And in turn, it’s those moments of human connection that make volunteering so rewarding.

We know firsthand that Meals on Wheels clients are some of the country’s most inspirational and interesting people, full of wisdom and stories. Our volunteers have noted time and again that these experiences are what keeps them volunteering and deepens their connection beyond food delivery.

With the senior population projected to double by 2050, Metro Meals on Wheels needs to recruit a whole new wave of volunteers to serve the growing need. We rely on an army of over 400 volunteers, with over 50 helping prepare, serve or deliver meals to seniors in need every day between 11am and 1pm. These volunteers are crucial to the well-being of seniors across Ada County. With the majority of the current volunteer base over the age of 55, there is a real need to encourage and recruit people of all ages to get involved, donate their time and volunteer.

You can experience these special moments of human connection right here in Ada County by volunteering with Metro Meals on Wheels. If you can’t stray too far from the office or your home, you can still “do lunch” by donating your lunch break and participating in meal delivery close to your work or house. We also have opportunities for volunteers to help in the local senior citizens centers with food preparation and packaging.

Sign up to volunteer with Metro Meals on Wheels and start making a difference right here in our local community today. Download an application by visiting the Volunteer page. If you would like more information or have any questions, contact Cheryl Johnson, Services & Volunteer Coordinator, by phoning (208) 321-0031 or emailing her at cjohnson@metromealsonwheels.net.

Beat the Heat!

Weather in the Treasure Valley will certainly get hot this summer! High temperatures can affect anybody, however, those most at risk include:

  • People aged 65 years or older
  • People who have a medical condition such as diabetes, kidney disease or mental condition
  • People taking medications that may affect the way the body reacts to heat such as allergy medications, blood pressure and heart medicines, seizures medications, water pills
  • People who have difficulty communicating, moving around or are bedridden or in wheelchairs
  • Older people living alone

Here are several ways to beat the heat:

  • Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Have a supply of cool drinks and water in the refrigerator.
  • Set up fans in the living areas and bedrooms. Some people may need assistance from family or caregivers to do this.
  • Check that air conditioning units work efficiently. Ensure they’re not still on heat mode after winter and that the thermostat has been reset.
  • Make sure you have enough food, drink and medicines for a few days if very hot weather is forecast.
  • All refrigerated medicines should be kept in the fridge at all times, and other medication may need to be moved to cooler places in the house.
  • Block out the sun at home during the day by closing curtains and blinds.
  • Open the windows when there is a cool breeze.
  • Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.

Please help others by:

  • Keeping in touch with sick or frail friends and family. Call them at least once a day as you may be their lifeline.
  • Offering to help by doing shopping or other errands so they can avoid the heat. Take them somewhere cool for the day or have them stay the night if they are unable to stay cool in their home.

Please join us in these upcoming events!

During the next few months, Metro Meals on Wheels is involved in several fundraising events. Without your support, we would not be able to deliver and serve meals to senior citizens in Boise and throughout Ada County. Thank you!

March for Meals:
March for Meals is a month-long observance spotlighting senior hunger and food insecurity throughout the nation. The 1/3 mile march event will depart from the bandshell in Kleiner Park (Meridian) on Saturday, March 19th, from 10:30 to 11:00 a.m. No entry fee is required and there will be refreshments served and entertainment provided by “Prime Time Swingers”. Food Services of America will donate $5 for each marcher (equal to one nutritious meal for a senior). Our goal is to have the largest march event in the country for the second straight year!

Change 4 Change:
Metro Meals on Wheels is excited to be named as one of the Change 4 Change partners with Boise Co-Op throughout the months of April, May and June at their Village at Meridian location. When customers take in their own reusable shopping bags, they can either earn 10¢ off their bill or choose to donate the dime to one of the pre-selected Change 4 Change partners. The Village location for the Boise Co-Op is 2350 N. Eagle Road, Meridian.

Idaho Gives:
Idaho Gives is a statewide, 24-hour giving day taking place on May 5th, 2016. Every year on one given day, people across the state of Idaho come together for Idaho nonprofits through their online donations. A link to make your contribution will be provided on the Idaho Gives site in the near future.

Culinary Walkabout:
The 2016 Culinary Walkabout will be held May 11th, 2016 at Boise Centre. Culinary creations prepared by more than 25 local chefs, music provided by Boise Straight Ahead Jazz Band, silent and live auctions will be held as well as a chefs’ competition. Event tickets are $55 each; or $500 for a table of ten. Click here to purchase tickets, tables or secure a sponsorship, or contact Grant Jones at 321-0030 or gjones@metromealsonwheels.net. The Culinary Walkabout is made possible through the generous participation of the Idaho Chefs de Cuisine.

Teff – Ethiopia’s Nutritious Grain

On January 13th, 2015, Metro Meals on Wheels is introducing two new menu items featuring teff, a fine grain that grows predominately in the African country of Ethiopia. The recipe for pear crisp features teff flour and the rainbow coleslaw uses teff seeds.

Teff has a mild, nutty flavor and is a great addition to cooked cereal, soups/stews, rice pilaf or baked goods. It is higher in protein than wheat and has a high concentration of a variety of nutrients, including calcium, thiamin and iron.  

Interesting teff facts:
•    150 teff grains are equal in size to one kernel of wheat.
•    One pound of teff can produce up to one ton of grain in as little as 12 weeks.
•    3,000 grains of teff weighs only one gram.
•    Just one pound of teff grains can grow an acre of teff, while 100 pounds or more of wheat grains are needed to grow an acre of wheat.
•    Teff requires only 36 hours to sprout, the shortest time of any grain.

Teff has a local Treasure Valley connection. Maskal Teff (The Teff Company) in Caldwell grows and packages the grain, which is shipped to Ethiopian restaurants and sold in specialty grocery stores and health food stores across the country. Thank you to Wayne and Elizabeth Carlson, owners of Maskal Teff, for the kind donation of teff flour and grain for our featured new menu items

Metro Meals on Wheels Extends Condolences to the Family of Elden Gray

Metro Meals on Wheels extends condolences to the family of Elden Gray, who passed away on December 23rd, 2015.

Gray was instrumental in the development of Julius M. Kleiner Park in Meridian. The 60-acre park includes water and fountains, pathways, playgrounds, band shell, and the Meridian Senior Center, where Metro serves more than 100 Congregate meals each weekday. In addition, over 200 meals are prepared and sent out from the Meridian Senior Center kitchen for homebound seniors in the Meridian area. Kleiner Park is home to Metro’s March for Meals event, which will take place on March 19th.
Metro Meals on Wheels is grateful to Gray for his significant contribution to the City of Meridian. Metro is also grateful for the opportunity to serve nutritious meals to Meridian senior citizens at the Meridian Senior Center.