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Kansas City's Meals on Wheels delivers despite severe weather and a lack of public funding

Outdoors photo showing snow-covered grounds separated by a plowed street. In the foreground there is a tree branch covered in snow. In background a person is seen walking in the snow.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Winter weather can mean delayed or canceled meals for area seniors.

One in eight Kansas City seniors struggle with food insecurity. Meals on Wheels, run through the KC Shepherd's Center, normally supplies hot meals to clients, but recent snow and cold temperatures have been a barrier to delivers.

The KC Shepherd’s Center serves over 3,000 older adults in Kansas City every year with a team of 20 staff members and 500 volunteers.

Their Meals on Wheels program provides a daily hot meal and wellness check for older adults.

Volunteers of the program double up on deliveries and shift to shelf-stable meals before and after severe weather hits. But in recent weeks, snow and sub-zero temperatures have forced them to delay or cancel meal distributions multiple times.

Meals on Wheels faces a larger problem: A lack of money. Jackson County is the only county in the Kansas City metro that does not have public funding to support senior services.

Only about 1-2% of philanthropic funding and donations nationwide support older adults.

"It's disappointing," says Janet Baker, executive director for KC Shepherd’s Center. "We're advocating for public funding and for donations to support the very cost-efficient return on investment to keep someone safe and healthy and independent in their own home."

To sign up for Meals on Wheels deliveries, call 816-444-1121.

  • Janet Baker, Executive Director for KC Shepherd’s Center
  • Todd Donoho, volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels
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