Niles-Buchanan Meals on Wheels: An alternative to assisted living

Published 8:49 am Thursday, September 22, 2016

The residents of Niles and Buchanan are all fortunate to have a non-profit, non-government funded and locally run food service delivery program available to those who need it most: senior citizens and those unable to prepare their own meals.
The Niles-Buchanan Meals on Wheels program is now entering its 44th year of service and its army of volunteers continues to deliver two meals a day (a hot lunch and a tasty dinner), five days a week to clients who are unable to fix nutritious and healthy meals for themselves.
Niles-Buchanan Meals on Wheels delivers meals to the elderly, the temporarily immobile who need the service only for a few weeks while they heal, our local “wounded warriors,” and others unable to cook or shop for food.
The two daily meals served cost $5 per day, or $25 per week. While most recipients pay the full amount, the Niles-Buchanan Meals on Wheels will work with clients that cannot afford the total cost through a subsidy arrangement.
The meals are prepared fresh each day by the nutritionists at Lakeland Hospital-Niles. Most specialized diets can be accommodated by the nutrition staff at the hospital.
When Niles-Buchanan Meals on Wheels was established in 1972, there were few if any assisted living facilities and only a few nursing homes. Niles-Buchanan Meals on Wheels became very popular as the years ticked by, but soon senior living housing developments began to spring up. Former Meals on Wheels recipients moved into them, reducing the number of clients that Niles-Buchanan Meals on Wheels served. Most of them would have preferred to live comfortably at home.
This illustrates the Meals on Wheels idea that you can still live in your own home or apartment past the point that you can prepare meals, because meals will be delivered to you every day, in the comfort of your own home, by the volunteers of Niles-Buchanan Meals on Wheels.
While most charitable non-profits are working hard to meet the demands of the unfortunate and those in need (think Salvation Army and food banks), Niles-Buchanan Meals on Wheels is constantly seeking more clients to serve.
We recently surveyed our clients about the service they are receiving. The satisfaction rate was through the roof. We also learned through the survey that the Meals on Wheels volunteer delivering food was sometimes the only daily human interaction the client receives. Our clients expressed a strong sense of relief that for their safety, someone would be checking in on them every day. That someone was our volunteer.
If you know of someone who could benefit from the Niles-Buchanan Meals on Wheels service, or if you would like to become a volunteer, please let our facilitator know by calling Christie at (269) 687-1462. To make a tax-deductible contribution to the program, send your check to “Niles-Buchanan Meals on Wheels” to N-B Meals on Wheels, 31 North St. Joseph Avenue. Niles MI 49120  ATTN: Christie.
The Niles-Buchanan Meals on Wheels is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit charitable organization.

A native of Niles, Jack Strayer moved back home in 2009 after living and working in Washington DC since 1976. Strayer has served as a congressional staffer, state legislative press secretary, federal registered lobbyist and Vice President of the National Center for Policy Analysis.
He is a nationally recognized expert on federal health policy reform and led the fight for the enactment of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).