Sentinel Progress

UW grant to help Meals on Wheels

PICKENS COUNTY — Pickens County Meals on Wheels (PCMOW) recently announced that it has been awarded a United Way Pickens County (UWPC) Community Impact Grant. With this grant funding, PCMOW will implement a frozen weekend meal program that will enhance services for seniors at the greatest nutritional and hunger risk.

The program will operate from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.

Thirty-three existing clients will be selected to participate in the program, and in addition to a nutritious meal, a friendly visit and safety check each weekday, each client funded through this pilot program will receive two additional frozen meals for the weekend.

The program expansion would target those with the highest nutritional risk scores and at the greatest risk of hunger and food insecurity. Research by the Meals on Wheels America and the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger concludes those at greatest risk are: those with limited incomes (greater than 200 percent poverty level); under age 70; African-Americans and Hispanics; individuals that have never-married and divorced individuals; those living with grandchildren; renters and persons living in the South.

Nationally, one in six struggle with hunger.

South Carolina continues to rank as one of the top ten states with the highest rates of hunger risks among seniors.

“Food insecurity is a strong predictor of poor health and disease such as heart disease, stroke, lung disease and diabetes. The resulting healthcare and medication expenses add to the financial squeeze on low income individuals and those just above the poverty line, causing them to face continual spending decisions and trade-offs between basic needs such as food and medicine. This cycle of hunger and poor health management places individuals at increased risk of hospitalization or premature nursing home placement,” says Meta Bowers, PCMOW executive director. “This program will ensure those at greatest risk have nutritious meals seven days a week and alleviate the hardship they face as they struggle to access and prepare the food they need.”

Through a 2017-2018 UWPC Community Impact Grant, Meals on Wheels purchased a Blast Chiller/Shock Freezing system. This system provides a cost-effective way for PCMOW to produce high-quality chilled and frozen meals directly from its hot meal production line. Freezers are suited for storing ready frozen foods, but not for freezing them. The Blast Chiller/Shock Freezing system does not harm the tissue structure. When the food is heated and/or thawed, its quality, consistency, weight and aroma are not lost.

Located in the McKissick Center for Senior Wellness, Pickens County Meals on Wheels is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, that exists to combat the effects of hunger, loneliness and isolation on those living in Pickens County and provide a lifeline through the use of caring volunteers.

Founded in 1980, the overarching mission has not changed, yet the reach and impact has continued to expand in Pickens County.

Both home delivered meals and the Young at Heart dining and activity programs are about more than the meal: These services are crucial to helping people maintain their nutritional health, feel connected in the community and continue living safely in their own homes. For many seniors, this is the only social contact they may have in a day. These services are a vital part of fighting isolation and helping older adults remain active and healthy. Community-based programs like Meals on Wheels provide are a cost-effective way of helping people “Age in Place.”

For more information call 864-855-3770 or visit
PCMOW expands weekday services to include frozen weekend meals.

Staff report