Meals On Wheels of Solano County

About Meals On Wheels

Meals on Wheelsenior-citizens-connects of Solano County has been delivering meals to homebound seniors in Benicia, Dixon, Fairfield, Rio Vista, Suisun, Vacaville and Vallejo since 1977. Our registered dietitian plans all of the menus. All of our meals meet 1/3 of the daily basic nutritional requirements for older adults, follow the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and meet state regulations for food safety and sanitation. We strive to limit sodium to less than 750 milligrams per meal, limit the calories from fat, serve whole grains, vegetables and fresh fruits for fiber.  All meals are prepared and packaged fresh at our central kitchen in Suisun City, California.

Meals on Wheels of Solano County provided an average of 13,000 meals a month from July 2015 to June 2016 for seniors living in our community. Collectively, our wonderful volunteers and staff visited and checked on our seniors on a daily basis.

The Facts, Just the Facts…

  • 182,942 Total meals served to seniors in Solano County.
  • 156,622 Total meals delivered to home-bound seniors in Solano County.
  • 26,320 Total meals served at Congregate Dining Sites.
  • $50,798 Total value of donated volunteer Home-Delivery hours.
  • $27,396 Total value of donated miles for the Home-Delivery Program.
  • $23,715 Total value of donated volunteer hours & facility usage at Congregate Dining Sites.
  • TOTAL VALUE of Donated Services for FY 2015-2016: $104,370

Our Mission

To provide nutritious meals, daily contact from a dedicated volunteer and to support independence while promoting the social, physical, and emotional well-being of seniors.

Our Vision

To ensure that “No Senior goes Hungry”

Our Values

  • We respect the dignity and diversity of each person we serve and of those who volunteer and work for us.
  • We are responsible stewards of all resources that the community entrusts to us.
  • We strive to continually improve the quality of our services through understanding and acting on the needs and expectations of those being served.
  • We are innovative in our practices to support continual improvement and growth.
  • We believe in the value of volunteerism and believe that community service nourishes the souls of those who volunteer along with those being served.
  • We are committed to collaborating with community partners to respond to community needs.
  • We are honest and behave in a way that reinforces our values.

Historical Milestones for
Meals on Wheels of Solano County

Meals on Wheels of Solano County was founded in 1977 in Vallejo, CA by Grace Merkling. Grace and a group of citizens were concerned for the health and well-being of home-bound seniors who were unable to shop and prepare their meals. In 1977 and continuing for many years, Meals on Wheels volunteers and staff delivered to home-bound seniors, one nutritionally balanced meal daily, seven days a week and 365 days a year from Sutter Solano Hospital in Vallejo and NorthBay Hospital in Fairfield.

For the first time, Meals on Wheels of Solano County began to prepare the senior meals in their own acquired central kitchen located in the Marina Shopping Center in Suisun City. During this time, Meals on Wheels of Solano County expanded the meal service programs to include home delivered meals and congregate dining sites for seniors living in the seven cities in Solano County. We hired a registered dietitian who prepared the monthly menus for 22 home delivery routes and 8 congregate dining sites located at the local senior centers throughout the county.

Meals on Wheels was able to relocate their administrative offices in to the renovated spaces adjacent to our central kitchen facility thus consolidating the operation to one functional area. The importance of a central location allows our Sites & Routes Manager interact daily with the volunteers/staff who pick up and deliver the food to cities throughout Solano County. It has increased the efficiency of food distribution exponentially.

In 2015 Meals on Wheels of Solano County consisted of 34 employees, only two of whom worked full-time (the Kitchen Manager and the Chef). We had more than 120 volunteers to help deliver meals to home-bound seniors and/or to assist at congregate dining sites daily. We served over 600 clients a day and provided and average of 12,000 meals a month in Solano County.

FY 2015-2016 was a defining year for Meals on Wheels of Solano County. The number of unduplicated clients that we serve literally doubled, we prepared, packaged, and delivered 156,622 meals (approx. 35,000 more meals than the year before). Capacity and sustainability started to become a real concern as the program was growing exponentially. In cooperation with Kitchen staff it was determined that if program growth continued we would not be able to meet the need under our current operational structure. Our labor and food costs were rising, our equipment was not able to handle the increased need, and storage was limiting our growth.

This motivated administration to begin the research process on how to solve the problems of capacity and long-term sustainability of the program. Research showed that many Meals on Wheels programs were battling the same challenges and that the solution was to contract with a professional kitchen management organization.  There are two primary organizations offering this type of service on the west coast: Bateman and Valley Food Services.

After a year-long process which entailed much research and many potential scenarios it was determined that this was a way for Meals on Wheels to upgrade kitchen equipment, reduce labor costs, and standardize our overall meal costs.

In June of 2016 we signed a contract with Valley Food Services to manage our kitchen beginning August 1st. The first step in that process was to upgrade kitchen equipment by adding a new oven, large capacity kettle and installing a 6’ by 12’ walk in freezer in the sally port.

Meal cost is based on the number of meals produced daily. In order to increase meal count and reduce meal cost Meals on Wheels of Solano County will partner with Napa Valley Action  Council to prepare and package 400 additional meals daily to meet their home-delivered needs.

This puts  our kitchen producing approximately 1,200 meals daily with a meal cost of 3.045. Having a standardized meal cost makes predictive budgeting easier as well as management of the over all budget.

To date we have had many compliments on the variety of new menu items and flavor combinations. We are serving approximately 680 meals a day which averages out to about 15,500 meals per month. We anticipate those number to continue to rise with the Baby Boomers moving into their retirement years.

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