Our History

Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island was established on Feb. 17, 1969 by founder Joe Brown (1924-2014) who saw an unmet need in his community to provide nutritious meals to homebound seniors.

With a small group of volunteers, he began delivering lunchtime meals to 17 seniors in Providence out of space donated by Grace Church, located in downtown Providence.

A 1972 amendment to the Older Americans Act of 1965 established a national nutrition program for seniors, allowing for great expansion of this new Home-Delivered Meal Program as well as the addition of new and much-needed services to serve homebound seniors statewide.

Within its first 10 years in operation, Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island celebrated the delivery of its one millionth meal to a senior in need.

In 2019, the organization celebrated its 50th year and delivered its 19 millionth meal to a homebound senior and welcomed its fourth executive director, Meghan Grady, marking a new era of growth for Meals on Wheels of RI as it works to meet the needs of a growing senior population. 

In 2020, we delivered more than 336,000 meals to 2,758 seniors statewide.
Another 595 clients were served through the Capital City Café Program, which offers more mobile seniors the opportunity for socialized dining at nine café sites throughout the Providence area.

Over the years, much, of course, has changed at Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island, but our mission remains the same—to help enable our state’s homebound older adults to remain living independently in their own homes by providing them with complete and nutritious meals, vital safety checks and critical opportunities for socialization.