Fort Wayne, Indiana
Since 1971, Homebound Meals has ensured that those most in need - the aged, the ill and those with disabilities - receive regular nutritious meals delivered right to their homes. In 2018-2019 alone, more than 38,000 meals were distributed to clients by committed volunteers who logged nearly 76,000 miles, donating almost 12,200 service hours. All of this was funded through generous community donations without the support of local, state, or federal dollars. While we are proud of this accomplishment, the need for this important service continues to grow.
Through a successful, long-term partnership with the Rehabilitation Hospital (1971) of Fort Wayne, St. Joseph Hospital (1972) and Parkview Health (1972) (multiple locations), we ensure that every one of our client's medical nutrition needs are met. We address senior hunger (food insecurity), malnutrition, the disabled and/or chronically ill. 1 out of every 3 seniors admitted to the hospital is malnourished.
Daily interaction with the clients allows monitoring of hunger vital signs, medical relapse, and general safety. Our volunteers do so much to improve the well-being of those receiving meals. Often, these volunteers provide the only contact with the outside world to people who otherwise face social isolation and are at increased risk for depression. Further, being able to maintain healthy self-sufficiency by aging in place, lessens the potential for extended hospital visits, nursing home stays and health care expenses - which impact us all.
As government monies decline and medical costs increase, more people in our local community find they are unable to meet their medical dietary needs/costs. We are the only program in our community who accommodates certified medically tailored home delivered meals to a client's door five days a week. Increasingly we are seeing people who cannot afford the cost of $5.20. To that end we are asking for monies to subsidize meals. We try to have everyone pay something towards their meals so that dignity remains intact and clients have some ownership in their wellbeing, but donations and grants allow us to offer the meals at a greatly reduce price. Should there be a severe need - we do offer meals at no cost. These cases are usually determined in conjunction with organizations such as Home Hospice, Visiting Angels and Home Instead to name a few of the agencies we work with. Most of our demographics are elder citizens but we continue to see an increase in low function adults where our program allows them to live independently.
This client was with us for 2 years and called to cancel because she was now able to care for herself and she told us that we literally saved her life.
This client was plagued with RA and depression. She was not eating well and she did not care. She was in such pain and so depressed due to the pain, that she was did not only eat terribly (Pizza, pop and M&M's), but she spent a great deal of time in bed.
The client was familiar with the program because her parents both received meals from Homebound and she drove for a short time as a volunteer. However, it was the clients' daughter, who lives in California, who set her mother up with meals. The daughter was so relieved to know that her mother was being looked in on and that she was receiving at least one healthy meal per day.
SJ told us that when she first started receiving meals, that she ate them as if she were starving. Her body was so malnourished that she craved healthy food. Within a few weeks, our client started noticing a difference in how she was feeling. She had a little less pain and a little more energy. She told me that when her daughter saw her for the first time after receiving meals she noticed a positive change as well.
Because of the nutrition, she started to care about her own health again. SJ told us she started doing research and decided to switch to a vegetarian/anti-inflammatory diet. That change helped her feel even better. She then decided to drop down to receiving meals 3 days per week instead of 5. She used some of the meals that she received to inspire her as to what sort of food to prepare for herself.
This client thanked us over and over again, as did her daughter. She told us twice that we literally saved her life.
To assist our community to age in place, recuperate and enhance health through medically tailored meals delivered by dedicated drivers.