Meals on Wheels (MOW) is one of Doing Good Together™'s oldest partners and the focus of our January Project of the Month.
MOW was also the vehicle for one of my family's first experiences in volunteering.
I spent two years making monthly deliveries with my daughters, beginning when they were just four and two years old. Check out those two little girls in the photo below! Where has the time gone?
But I digress. I wanted to tell you that our experience making deliveries for MOW was wonderful for all of us, including the kind-hearted folks we delivered to each month. The kids often traded treasures with their elderly friends, bringing drawings or handmade "have a great day" cards and walking away with a bit of hard candy or a silly cartoon cut from the newspaper.
We only dropped our route because my third baby was born. Those heavy infant car seats are not conducive to carrying coolers full of hot lunches. Now, however, he's a very ambulatory and helpful (when in the mood!) three-year-old, and I'm thinking it's time to get back into the MOW family.
Meals on Wheels does amazing work, keeping seniors - safely - in their homes longer and addressing the growing problem of hunger among older Americans.
And my personal favorite aspect of Meals on Wheels? They give us an opportunity to help out our immediate community, making the effort very tangible and knowable for kids of any age.
Check out these fun ways to get your whole family involved with Meals on Wheels!
1. Make Deliveries!
A Meals on Wheels route only takes about an hour over lunch time, and MOW always needs volunteers – especially families with children! Learn more about Meals on Wheels and how to discuss its clientele with your children, using the parent handbook created by Doing Good Together™.
2. Decorate Lunch Bags
Try our Project of the Month! Deliveries can be difficult if you still have a very young toddler or baby, but you can still support the cause! Get crafty with young artists and make the dessert bags extra cheery. Check out our project details for conversation starters and project instructions.
3. Decorate placemats for recipients.
Decorated placemats are often welcome, too. (Think collage!) If possible, seal your placemats with a laminating machine or clear contact paper so your donations have a longer life.
4. Raise Funds for MOW
Like all nonprofit organizations (including DGT™!), Meals on Wheels could use additional support. Try our creative, kid-led fundraiser and invite kids to set an empty place at the family dinner table in honor of those who are hungry. Fill your empty bowl up with coins using our unique project instructions. Send contributions to your local MOW.
5. Read about Hunger
Reading a good story gives children (and their adults) a whole new perspective, helping us all strengthen our empathy "muscles." Check out our growing list of books about hunger and poverty to launch a meaningful conversation with your little ones.
6. Get Creative!
Call your local office and suggest an idea if you have one (cards to send with deliveries, seasonal care packages... etc.). Ask if they've noticed any unmet needs in their clientele.