Proclaiming March as “March For Meals Month,” Gov. Gina Raimondo on March 5 kicked off Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island’s month-long campaign by delivering a meal to one of the thousands of Rhode Island seniors who rely on the agency’s services to remain healthy and safe living in their own homes.
“It’s so important to support services that keep our seniors living at home where they want to be,” said Gov. Raimondo. “Meals on Wheels provides a vital lifeline and connection to the community for Rhode Island’s older adults. During my first year in office, I was proud to lead an effort to restore $300,000 in state funding to Meals on Wheels. I’m honored to be joining the kickoff for March for Meals today.”
Gov. Raimondo delivered a meal to and visited with Georgiana Perry, an 89-year-old lifelong Fox Point resident who said she would not be able to remain living in her longtime home without her daily home-delivered meals.
The governor was accompanied by Webster Bank Regional President Doug Scala. Webster Bank has been the campaign’s presenting sponsor for six years.
“For 82 years, Webster Bank has strived to and is proud to support organizations providing safety net services that make life better for citizens in need. Meals on Wheels has a critical mission unmatched in the state of Rhode Island and makes a difference in the lives of so many,” Scala said.
March For Meals unites elected officials, business leaders and community champions to rally public support for the agency’s critical work in combating the issues of senior hunger and isolation across the state. Last year, Meals on Wheels of RI delivered more than 340,000 meals and provided daily safety checks to more than 2,500 homebound Rhode Islanders.
“We are honored to have Gov. Raimondo’s support—and that of all our generous sponsors—in March for Meals and in the vital work we are doing to ensure that all Rhode Island seniors have the nutrition and socialization they need,” said Meals on Wheels RI Executive Director Heather Amaral.
Throughout March, Rhode Island’s congressional delegation, state mayors and campaign sponsors will deliver complete and nutritious meals to Meals on Wheels of RI clients and provide those clients with a friendly visit that often is the only social interaction they will have that day.
Administration on Aging research has proven that receiving daily delivered meals along with socialization opportunities reduces seniors’ feelings of isolation and loneliness and improves their mental and physical health, including lower rates of costly hospitalizations. The cost of one year of Meals on Wheels of RI home-delivered meals is equal to the cost of one day in the hospital for a Rhode Island senior.
“We deeply respect the work of Meals on Wheels of RI,” said Dr. Katherine Dallow, vice president, clinical affairs, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, the campaign’s premier sponsor. “The tradeoff between funding one year of home-delivered meals and knowing that someone is there to support you and recognize your needs, versus the cost of one day of hospitalization is a no-brainer.”
March for Meals also highlights the continuously growing need for Meals on Wheels of RI services. The agency regularly has hundreds of seniors on its waitlist and, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Rhode Island has one of the highest concentrations of seniors in the United States and is projected to add 100,000 seniors to our population by 2030.