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News / Health / Clark County Health

Meals on Wheels gets 2 grants for $1.7M for meals tailored to those just released from hospital

Meals on Wheels People served 1,746 Clark County residents with its home meal delivery service in 2023

By Chrissy Booker, Columbian staff writer
Published: March 5, 2024, 5:39pm

Meals on Wheels People announced Tuesday it received two grants totaling $1.7 million from Trillium Community Health Plan to support its Medically Tailored Meals program.

The program partners with PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, and health systems in Portland, including the VA Portland Health Care System, to deliver meals to patients that meet specific health care needs.

Over the next three years, the two grants will support the delivery of these meals to people who are discharged from the hospital, hoping to remove barriers to nutrition such as limited mobility and transportation.

“Our primary mission is to feed older people in the best way possible, but the other part of our mission is to use our capacity and expertise to help feed and provide nutrition to other marginalized groups,” CEO Suzanne Washington said in an interview Tuesday. “It’s just a huge opportunity to really build on what we’re trying to do and serve the community.”

According to Mary Ann Naylor, director of marketing and communications, Meals on Wheels People served 1,746 Clark County residents with its home meal delivery service in 2023. In the same year, it provided medically tailored meals to 119 Clark County residents, which equals 9,866 meals. That number has already increased in 2024; 142 people have received medically tailored meals so far.

Meals on Wheels People, based in Portland, aims to ensure no senior goes hungry or experiences social isolation, according to its website. Although the nonprofit typically serves people 60 and older, the Medically Tailored Meals program is for people of all ages.

The program began in 2021 after the organization saw an increase of people with chronic illness who struggled to access healthy meals that also catered to their medical needs.

In a Tuesday news release, the nonprofit said the two grants will allow it to serve two medically tailored meals a day for up to 120 days post-discharge to more than 400 patients and 100 additional family members. Staff at partner hospitals coordinate with Meals on Wheels People to discuss what kind of food is suited for a patient’s medical condition. Then, meals are delivered weekly to the patient’s home by trained volunteers.

“Trillium is proud to partner with Meals on Wheels People to improve health outcomes by providing medically tailored meal services to individuals at risk for food insecurity and their families,” Sarah Kelley Brewer, plan president and CEO of Trillium Community Health Plan, said in the news release.

To volunteer or learn more about Meals on Wheels People, visit mowp.org.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.