Meals on wheels

Webster Bank SVP of Government and Institutional Banking Xay Khamsyvoravong; MOWRI Board Chair Kevin Millonzi; R.I. OHA Director Rose Jones; Meals on Wheels of RI Executive Director Meghan Grady; Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Vice President, Consumer Segment Corey McCarty.

PROVIDENCE—With a proclamation issued by Gina Raimondo in her last days as Rhode Island’s governor declaring March as “March for Meals Month,” R.I. Office of Healthy Aging Director Rose Amoros Jones on March 3 launched Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island’s month-long campaign alongside the organization’s Executive Director Meghan Grady.

“Over the last year, we’ve faced a global pandemic, and with it, we’ve all confronted the hardships that come with physical distance and being quarantined in our homes. While COVID vaccines bring hope that this pandemic will soon come to an end, I pray what doesn’t end is our newfound awareness about the social isolation, food insecurity, and countless other struggles that so many of our neighbors experienced prior to COVID,” said Director Jones. “For more than 50 years, Meals on Wheels has provided an invaluable service to our neighbors who are homebound. More than a meal, the team delivers hope, friendly conversation, and needed human connection.”

March For Meals unites elected officials, business leaders and community champions to rally public support for the organization’s critical work in combating the issues of senior food insecurity and isolation across the state. In 2020, Meals on Wheels of RI’s Home-Delivered Meal Program provided more than 336,000 meals, well-being checks, and social visits to 2,748 homebound Rhode Islanders.

Another 605 more mobile seniors were served through Meals on Wheels of RI’s Capital City Café Program, which was converted to home-delivered meals during the pandemic.

“We are very proud that our services have continued without disruption and that we’ve been able to provide our homebound clients with the nutrition, wellness checks, and socialization they need to stay healthy and safe in their own homes throughout this crisis,” said Meals on Wheels of RI Executive Director Meghan Grady. “March for Meals is about bringing together all of our supporters to recognize that the need for this work continues to grow as does the need to raise the funds that will support it now and in the future.”

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Vice President, Consumer Segment, Corey McCarty, and Webster Bank SVP, Public Sector Finance, Xay Khamsyvoravong, representing the campaign's presenting sponsors, also were present to usher in this year’s campaign.

“There’s no doubt that this year has been a challenging one, especially for older Rhode Islanders,” McCarty said. “Meals on Wheels services are such a critical part of ensuring the health and safety of our state’s homebound older adults. By addressing food insecurity and social isolation in one daily visit, Meals on Wheels is effectively reducing significant risk factors that can contribute to a myriad of health conditions, such as heart disease, weakened immune system and cognitive decline. We are incredibly grateful to Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island for their essential services and appreciate the opportunity to provide necessary financial and volunteer support to enable their work.”

For more information on March for Meals or how to make an impact today in combating senior hunger and isolation across the state, visit www.rimeals.org.

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