Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels (YMOW) marked the resumption of its Saturday meal deliveries with an open house on Saturday, June 1, coinciding with the annual Normal Park Neighborhood Association yard sale.
During the open house, YMOW staffed an outdoor information table that included samples of both the meat-based and vegetarian meals YMOW typically delivers. YMOW marked its 45th anniversary earlier this year, but YMOW executive director Alison Foreman says it's been 14 years since the organization was last able to offer Saturday delivery.
The delivery expansion was made possible in part by YMOW's switch from a Detroit-based meal provider to receiving meals from Michigan Medicine.
"We'd been talking with Patient Food and Nutrition Services at Michigan Medicine for about a year to make this happen," Foreman says.
Michigan Medicine began providing meals to YMOW Monday through Friday in March. Foreman says YMOW wanted a couple of months to get used to the new food pickup and delivery system before launching its Saturday deliveries.
Depending on what option a qualifying senior requests, Saturday deliveries can include a hot lunch with a chilled meal for dinner, as well as an additional chilled meal for Sunday, making nutritionally-balanced meals available to Ypsi-area seniors seven days a week.
Foreman says YMOW staff are encouraged by "the quality ramp-up and great feedback we've had from clients over the last few months." Clients have commented on the high quality and wider variety of foods they're receiving from Michigan Medicine, including more salads, occasional snacks, and dessert at least three times a week.
Saturday deliveries also open up opportunities for more families and businesses to do volunteer work with YMOW, Foreman says. She notes that while some businesses like Toyota Technical Center have sent volunteers on weekdays, making weekend deliveries may be more practical for families with school-aged children and for people putting in volunteer hours through their employer's charitable arm.
YMOW is headquartered at First Baptist Church, 1110 W. Cross St. in Ypsi. With recent additions to YMOW services, the nonprofit made arrangements with the church to expand into a space on the church's first floor that formerly housed a preschool program. Foreman says YMOW expects to renovate over the summer, and staff may be able to move into that office space as soon as this autumn.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at [email protected].
Photos by Sarah Rigg.