WesleyLife Meals on Wheels at 3 Million Meals Delivered and Counting

June 23, 2023

JOHNSTON, IA — WesleyLife, a provider of nearly 1,000 meals a day to older adults and military veterans of all ages through its Meals on Wheels program, has now tracked the delivery of 3 million meals to nutritionally vulnerable Iowans in the Des Moines area.

“This number represents a huge impact we all can be proud of, especially our dedicated team-member and volunteer drivers,” Heather Stuyvesant, director of community nutrition for WesleyLife, said in a press release. “I can say with certainty, though, that the number is a small one compared to where we are headed!”

WesleyLife Meals on Wheels was established in 2006 when WesleyLife acquired Generations, Inc., a senior-services agency that offered meals and public-health care.

Since then, Meals on Wheels has grown to serve all of Polk County and areas of Dallas County, supplying meals and well-being checks to thousands of individuals, and also providing meals to all congregate-meal sites in Polk County.

“In all reality, we have delivered more than 3 million meals, but that’s the total since we began tracking electronically,” Stuyvesant said. “But the 3-million number is a great illustration of the critical need that’s met by our services every day.

“Food insecurity impacts more than 10,000 Central Iowans age 65 and older,” she continued, “and we know that when someone is not receiving adequate nourishment, that person is vulnerable to any number of health issues. So, our mission compels us every day to broaden the reach of our services.”

To that end, a new Meals on Wheels campus, made possible by donor support, is under construction near Drake University in Des Moines to replace the current one near downtown.

Slated to open later this year, the new campus will include an industrial kitchen that will triple meal capacity; a hydroponic garden that will grow a variety of fresh greens for the meals; and a space for intergenerational programming designed to combat loneliness and encourage connections.

“Many people don’t know that hunger is everywhere throughout our community, regardless of what ZIP code you live in,” Stuyvesant said. “We’re grateful to have the opportunity to respond to a need that will only continue to grow.”

Celebrating its 76th anniversary this year, WesleyLife is certified as a Fortune Top 20 Best Workplace for Senior Living; it is a non-profit offering health and wellbeing services for older adults through 12 communities in Iowa and Illinois, along with an array of home- and community-based services.

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