Did you know that 1 in 6 (about 10 million) seniors in the United States struggle with hunger? In Oklahoma, 16% of seniors are threatened by hunger, and 9% are food insecure. Sadly, Oklahoma currently ranks in the top 10 states with the highest food insecurity levels among seniors.
Edmond Mobile Meals is dedicated to the mission of providing nutritious meals to homebound seniors and disabled citizens in Edmond. Recipients of these meals receive a warm lunch and a daily wellness check from a friendly volunteer. For some, it is the only personal interaction they have each day.
Edmond Mobile Meals, founded in 1974, is a nonprofit organization funded by contributions from meal recipients and donations from community members and organizations. The organization is staffed by three professional staff members, Executive Director Cristi Twenter, Chef/Director of Food Services Toni Washington, and Assistant Director Terri Horton. With its Executive Board Members, who assist with fundraising and planning, as well as approximately 400 volunteers, Edmond Mobile Meals currently delivers over 1,000 meals a week within the Edmond community.
A mere 47 years in the making, Edmond Mobile Meals just delivered its one-millionth meal on November 18, 2020. While 2020 has been a year filled with challenges, this nonprofit is something to celebrate.
“Edmond Mobile Meals one-millionth meal was delivered to a dear client named Mary Mullennix. She turned 105 years old on November 22, so we thought it was fitting to celebrate her birthday along with our millionth meal,” Twenter said. The event was also celebrated with a parade that included involvement from the Edmond Police Department, The Edmond Fire Department, and several volunteers. The meal was presented to Mary by a group of volunteers that included founding volunteers Sheree Lambert and Dee Miller, previous Executive Directors Teresa Hoehner and Piper Riggs, and John and Brian Vance, sons of co-Founder Carolyn Vance.
As with most any organization, Edmond Mobile Meals has had to quickly overhaul both their products and services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously preparing and delivering hot fresh meals daily, Monday-Friday, they have temporarily shifted to delivering five days’ worth of frozen or non-perishable meals along with fresh salads, fruits, sides, and milk, once a week.
“This allows us to continue to make sure no senior in Edmond goes hungry at a time where it is dangerous for seniors to even go to the grocery store,” said Twenter. “It minimizes face-to-face contact with volunteers, reducing exposure to the virus.”
Edmond Mobile Meals also initiated a “friendly caller’ program to check on those who live alone. Additionally, they have volunteers who grocery shop for clients’ essentials. Twenter said. “The plan is to continue this alternative model of delivery until it is once again deemed safe to have volunteers in the kitchen preparing meals each week day.”
Since March, the number of clients requesting assistance has increased by 30%. Edmond Mobile Meals is not a government-funded program; due to the increase in clients and the increase in operation costs, financial assistance from the community is essential to serve all of those in need. At a cost of approximately $5 per meal, a $25 donation provides a weeks’ worth of meals for one person in need. A $100 donation provides a month of meals.
Those interested in giving may do so via check or by visiting Edmond Mobile Meals’ website, edmondmobilemeals.org. Donors can also help sustain Edmond Mobile Meals’ work for generations to come by donating to the endowment fund held at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. These donations can be made online. The organization also has a wish list of needed supplies on Amazon.
“Edmond Mobile Meals believes no senior should have to choose between food and other necessities,” said Twenter. “By delivering a meal, a friendly visit, and a safety check regardless of income, Edmond Mobile Meals helps combat three of aging’s most harmful threats: inadequate nutrition, isolation, and declining quality of life.”
Forty-seven years and one million meals later, the focus of Edmond Mobile Meals remains constant. They care for individuals in our community whose diminished mobility or lack of resources makes them unable to shop for food, prepare meals, or stay connected in their community. This precious service has been a gift to thousands of Edmond citizens, and one can only hope they will carry on to deliver one million more meals in the future.
For more information about Edmond Mobile Meals, please visit their website.
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About Kelly Vaughn
Kelly Vaughn completed her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland-European Division while living overseas as a military spouse. She holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she is also employed. She is a graduate of Leadership Edmond, Class XXV and is actively involved in the Edmond community. Kelly enjoys business and leadership books and podcasts, spending time with her family, attending concerts, and traveling.