In 1972, prompted by a real concern for the problems of the hunger and sickness in the city of Trenton, representatives of the Downtown Cluster of Churches and the Visiting Nurses Association began meeting together to see what they could do to help. On April 2, 1073, with the help of Mercer Hospital, the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) and Trenton Ecumenical Area Ministry (TEAM), along with the financial support of churches, service clubs, corporations and individuals, Mobile Meals of Trenton came into existence. The first team of volunteers served four clients.
In January, 2002, Ewing Meals on Wheels joined the Mobile Meals of Trenton program and family, thus changing the official name to Mobile Meals of Trenton/Ewing.
Meals on Wheels
In January, 2011, The Board of Directors voted to change the name of Mobile Meals of Trenton/Ewing to Meals on Wheels of Trenton/Ewing in order to be more closely aligned with Meals on Wheels Association of America, the national organization. Since 1973, the program has continued to grow, and currently provides meals to over 165 people daily in the Trenton/Ewing areas. Volunteers now deliver more than 44,000 meals annually.
Also in January, 2011, Meals on Wheels of Trenton/Ewing began working fulltime with The Arc Mercer in Ewing, NJ by contracting to have all its meals provided by Arc’s Touch of Taste catering service, which acts as a food service training program for its special needs consumers. In addition, Meals on Wheels moved their staff and operations center into The Arc Mercer building at 180 Ewingville Road, Ewing in order to be closer to their volunteers and the food distribution.
In May 2011, Meals on Wheels of Trenton/Ewing adopted a new logo to coincide with its new website, new name and new location. In 2013, Meals on Wheels of Trenton/Ewing marked 40 years of service to the homebound in our community.
In January 2016, Meals on Wheels of Trenton/Ewing began serving 6 additional Mercer County municipalities, in addition to Ewing and Trenton: East Windsor, Hightstown, Princeton, West Windsor, and parts of Lawrence and Hamilton. To more adequately reflect our expanded service area, our name was changed to Meals on Wheels of Mercer County.
Who do we serve?
Typically, Meals on Wheels programs serve homebound seniors who are over 60 in their communities. Meals on Wheels of Trenton /Ewing also serves a growing population of those under 60, who find themselves unable to cook or shop due to the onset of a debilitating disease, or another life changing situation that makes them homebound. This could be temporarily, or for a longer term. Currently, this population represents 17% of who we serve, and is growing. They are “invisible” as our homebound seniors once were, and equally as vulnerable to food insecurity. MOWTE is also unique in that we provide a significant number of subsidies for those who cannot afford the cost of our meals. We subsidize heavily in the City of Trenton, although those homebound on a fixed income are all our neighbors. Here is a snapshot of our program participants we serve:
83% are over 60; 37% of those are over 80
61% are female, 39% male
78% are either below the poverty line, or vulnerable to it.
59% are African-American, 39% are white/Non-Latino, 2% Latino
25% suffer from heart related ailments; 12% have diagnosed dementia.
61% live alone, many with no family members in the area.