`Meals on Wheels' is a term generically used to describe meal delivery programmes for housebound individuals. The programme was founded by the Services Program for Aging Needs (SPAN), a non-profit organisation established in 1974 in Denton County, Texas. The programme is funded entirely by grants and public contributions.
The programme caters to people aged 60 and above, who are home-bound and unable to prepare meals for themselves and have no one else who can do this for them. They must live reasonably close to a meal site, and must be on file with SPAN.
Last year the organisation distributed over 100,000 meals to Denton County's elderly. This is often the only meal that these people have every day, and represents their only social contact. Unfortunately, funding shortages have left around 40 seniors on a waiting list this year.
SPAN currently delivers meals to a little over 1,000 Denton County seniors. In an effort to expand SPAN's services, Denton County diners will be hosting the Dining-to-Donate fundraiser three times this month. The proceeds from meals at these diners will be given to Meals on Wheels.
In addition to its meal service, SPAN also operates Denton County's transit system, giving transportation access to the elderly, disabled and veterans. SPAN volunteers also assist with seniors' errands, shopping and medical appointments. Senior Pals organises social interaction between seniors and volunteers.
The organisation is always looking for volunteers. Interested parties can sign up online.