Meals on Wheels originated in England during World War II, when the women's Volunteer Services were organized to help Civil Defense. The first successful program in the United States began in Philadelphia in 1954 and has spread throughout major cities in the United States.
Meals on Wheels of Long Beach (MOW) was started as a pilot program and service project of Soroptimist International of Long Beach after many months of research and preparation. On March 1, 1971, MOW opened at the First Congregational Church in downtown Long Beach with ten clients. In l972 it became incorporated as a non-profit corporation. Because of the need for home delivered meals, the program grew rapidly and soon expanded into three more church sites in the east, north and northwest sections of the city. Now nearly 400 clients are served in their homes daily.
Meals on Wheels is a non-profit voluntary community service for persons unable to prepare adequate meals for themselves because of disability, age or chronic or temporary illness, thus assisting them to remain in their own homes. Meals on Wheels provides home delivery of two nutritionally balanced meals per day at nominal cost and is available to all Long Beach area residents, regardless of age. The board of directors, all of whom are volunteers, includes several registered dietitians responsible for preparing the nutritious menu.
Meals on Wheels of Long Beach is not connected to any other meals on wheels program and is not federally funded. Eligible clients pay the nominal fee if they are able, and if not, under certain conditions may be temporarily subsidized. Now boasting the onset of its 41st year, the program continues to serve the ill, disabled and elderly with the support of dedicated volunteers and generous contributors.