Santa Barbara Meals on Wheels celebrated its 50th anniversary by delivering its two millionth meal to seniors and homebound community members.
“We’ve never missed a day since 1971, when we had just 18 clients and two drivers,” said Dan Kronstadt, co-president of the nonprofit’s board, in a news release. “Today, over 150 clients receive meals freshly prepared by Valle Verde retirement community. We have about 80 volunteers who make deliveries seven days a week, including every holiday, to people of all ages who are unable to shop and cook for themselves, yet want to remain independent.”
Santa Barbara Meals on Wheels is a nonprofit volunteer organization that provides affordable hot meals 365 days a year to individuals who are unable to shop or cook for themselves.
In 2021, the nonprofit gave meals to 288 clients for short and long term periods of time. The recipients’ ages ranged from 24 to over 100.
The Santa Barbara organization is one of 5,000 Meals on Wheels programs throughout the country.
Other than just food, Meals on Wheels creates relationships with their recipients outside of hot meals.
“Through the years, drivers have intervened countless times when they saw clients who were deeply lonely, or needed medical attention, mental health support or adult protective services,” said Volunteer Driver Coordinator Kay Castagnola in a media release. “Our volunteers become the eyes and ears for family members who live out of the area.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic taking a toll on volunteers, “the volunteers who stayed really stepped up, even recruiting new drivers, and we never missed a day,” said Ms. Castagnola.
The nonprofit relies on local financial support and grants, and was able to keep the price of meals at nearly half of the total cost.
To learn more about receiving meals or volunteering with Santa Barbara Meals on Wheels, call 805-683-1565 or visit www.mealsonwheelssb.org.