Delivering Hope: Making a Difference for Meals on Wheels

Delivering Hope: Making a Difference for Meals on Wheels

Food insecurity and isolation stand as some of the most prevalent issues facing today’s senior population. With one in four Americans aged 60 or older, and a staggering 12,000 individuals joining this demographic daily, the magnitude of the issue cannot be overstated. Among these seniors, 10 million are grappling with or at risk of hunger, while half of those living alone lack the financial resources to cover their basic necessities. The State of Maine bears a particularly heavy burden in addressing these concerns, given that we have the largest percentage of seniors (21.8%) in the entire country.

Fortunately, Meals on Wheels (MOW) programs across the state provide longstanding solutions to these challenges. Through the provision of free, nutritious meals, MOW provides seniors with physical nourishment and much needed social interaction. As MOW states, “A knock at the door might not seem like a big deal to many of us. But, to a homebound senior, it could signal the arrival of the only person they might see all day or all week long. It brings hope. It brings health. It brings the nutrition and care that will completely make their day.”

Moreover, the impact of MOW is proven and measurable, with an astounding 92% of participants reporting that the meals helped them to continue to live independently. The tangible outcomes of MOW extend beyond individual testimonials too. In Central Texas, for instance, the implementation of two MOW programs has resulted in a remarkable reduction in malnourishment rates amongst participants, plummeting from 42% to a mere 8% in just three months.

However, this success would not be possible without the help and dedication of hard-working volunteers. We are proud to say that our Androscoggin Bank employees have made an extraordinary difference with their local MOW program, coordinated by SeniorsPlus.

What began as an unprompted effort by our eight-person Loan Operations team in July of 2022 has since grown into a team of 22 regular volunteers. The team volunteers on Monday and Tuesday mornings, packing entrées, fruits and veggies into meals, sealing and labeling food and providing general kitchen support. On several occasions, members from our team have even stepped up and volunteered their time on little notice, when the program was shorthanded.

Kelly Cunningham, who serves as our Assistant Manager of Loan Operations, explained just what it means to do this valuable work: “We love the fact that we are helping with food insecurities, as we feel like we are making a real difference in our community. Meals on Wheels is also dear to me because of my grandfather, who delivered meals for the program for many years with my grandmother. They built a lot of friendships on those food delivery routes, and provided so many with the only social contact they would get on a regular basis. I am very thankful to have an employer that encourages us to go out into the community take part in these deeply rewarding experiences.”

Kimmy Dione, the Human Resources/Volunteer Coordinator at SeniorsPlus, shared her gratitude for our employees: “Since 2022, Kelly and her team from Androscoggin Bank have been instrumental in helping us achieve our mission. We appreciate and value the hard work that has gone into helping us in our community.”

In the span of three years, the collective efforts of Androscoggin Bank’s volunteers have yielded remarkable results, culminating in the preparation of over 29,000 meals for seniors in need. We send our deepest thanks to all of our colleagues who were involved in this collective effort, and SeniorsPlus for the great work they do in supporting vulnerable seniors and fostering a more compassionate society.