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Woodside Meals on Wheels: Delivering nutritional meals to seniors in need

by Tianna G. Hansen

In our community, there are a number of elderly people who find themselves homebound or no longer able to prepare meals the same as they once could.

In an effort to combat this, Woodside Meals on Wheels services much of Lower Bucks County by delivering healthy meals to seniors who otherwise struggle to receive proper nutrition.

This is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization and works with the support of the county and community, partnered with Pennswood Village in Newtown and Bucks County Area Agency on Aging.

Woodside Meals on Wheels was founded in 1975 by a few women from the Woodside Presbyterian Church in Morrisville (which is how the organization got its name).

Initially, it was a very small operation and food was provided by the local nursing home Pickering Manor.

The program began to grow and expand, moving to work with Pennswood Village in 1980.  

“We serve 60 to 65 meals per day on seven different routes,” said co-director Sandy Leggieri.

Sandy has volunteered with Woodside Meals on Wheels for 10 years and enjoys seeing the positive impact it has on the community.  

“Our mission is to deliver healthy meals to people who are pretty much homebound and unable to prepare meals for themselves. This often gives them the opportunity to stay in their homes a little while longer.”

All meals are prepared by Pennswood Village, packaged by volunteers, and delivered by Woodside Meals on Wheels volunteers. 

“We are all-volunteer run,” says Sandy. “The people who drive all over the county doing deliveries aren’t reimbursed; everyone does this out of the goodness of their hearts.”

Each meal includes a protein, starch and vegetable in the hot meal and a cold bag including a beverage, salad, dressing, dessert, bread and butter.

Meal labels indicate what certain clients can and can’t have due to dietary needs such as lower sodium, diabetic, or if they are in need of softer foods. 

“Although we cannot satisfy all dietary needs, we try to do as much as we can for clients when they are in need of special diets,” says Sandy.

For those who receive the meals, it’s more than just good food, but it also means seeing a friendly face.

Many of the seniors they service don’t get out into the world or have the opportunity to socialize with many people.

The volunteers who deliver meals get to know the seniors they serve, and sometimes they are the first to realize a client needs medical attention.

“We contact the families to let them know or call 911 if the situation demands it,” says Sandy.

Last year, Woodside Meals on Wheels delivered nearly 16,000 meals across Lower Bucks County. 

Since the organization was originally founded, they have delivered about 500,000 meals to seniors in the area.

Woodside Meals on Wheels is always eager to find more volunteers to help them provide meals to those in need, and welcome seniors to apply to receive meals.

To inquire about getting meals or to join the team of over 100 volunteers, call them today at 215-968-4233.

You can also learn more at woodsidemealsonwheels.org.

PHOTO CAP: Volunteer driver Dennis McKeown delivers a nutritious meal to Nancy Hood.