Central Oregon Council on Aging Meals on Wheels
Each year, Central Oregon Council on Aging (COCOA) provides more than 75,000 Meals on Wheels to upwards of 675 homebound seniors in the tri-counties. Many live alone, on fixed and limited incomes, with few family supports. They can no longer shop for, prepare, or even afford their own meals. Those residing in rural areas are additionally challenged, as resources are few and far away. Meals on Wheels also represents a tremendous economic investment in the region. At $3.85 per meal, Meals on Wheels adds more than $288,000 to Central Oregon’s food assistance efforts. And the cost savings that accrue by keeping seniors in their homes and out of institutional care are enormous. Harder to quantify, but no less important, are the benefits to seniors of staying in their familiar surroundings, with lower risk of exposure to infection, enjoying their privacy and sense of control with days ordered by comfortable routines. But we could not fulfill this mission without our amazing Meals on Wheels volunteers.
Volunteers are essential for our clients. Without Meals on Wheels, homebound seniors would struggle with hunger and malnutrition, experience social isolation, and be at risk for elder neglect and abuse. With Meals on Wheels, they realize improved nutrition, better management of chronic disease, consistent visits from volunteer drivers that guard against anxiety and depression, and ongoing wellness checks that improve
both personal health and home safety.
Volunteers benefit also. Volunteering helps make new friends, expand networks, and boost social skills. It strengthens ties to the community, exposing the volunteer to people with common interests, as well as providing an awareness of local resources. Volunteers work toward a common goal, building camaraderie and teamwork. Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. It provides a natural sense of accomplishment and pride, giving a positive view of life. Understanding community needs helps foster empathy for and understanding of others. Older adults, especially those who have retired or lost a spouse, can find new meaning in their lives by helping others. It can help take their mind off their own worries, keep them mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose. Volunteering keeps people in regular contact with others and helps develop a solid support system, which in turn protects against, or at least reduces, stress, depression, anxiety, and social isolation. When people focus on someone other than themselves, it interrupts usual tension-producing patterns and replaces them with moods and emotions, like optimism and joy. Physically, volunteering has so been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease, lowering mortality rate. Lastly, they get a chance to give back. Volunteering allows them to connect to your community and make it a better place. Everyone can make a difference.
Meals on Wheels Stories
"Meals on Wheels has been a real blessing to me. The volunteer, Mike, genuinely cares. He mails letters for me and always helps me give my dog her medicine. Most days, he is the only person I see." - Barbara F.
"I was a fairly active Senior Citizen until a vehicle accident in April 2015. I became immobile and housebound. Having no close family or friends, I reached out…A home visit was made and I was approved for Meals on Wheels. I now have hot and healthy meals readily available to me. THANK YOU MEALS ON WHEELS."- Patricia H.
"Dear Meals on Wheels Sponsoring Donors,
Thanks to you, I eat a balanced meal every day, and fewer fig bars and cheese stix. That means I'm benefiting heart-wise in at least three ways:
1: My heart is healthier, because I eat better
2: It is checked on by the super neat delivery volunteers
3: My heart is warmed, because you care
Such a deal with just a meal. I really appreciate you." - Evelyn M.
"Meals on Wheels has helped me enormously. I cannot prepare my meals and I also am without a car. The volunteers check up on me daily -- it is so nice talking to everyone. Thank you all for your help."- Pamela K.
"I'm 83 years old and can no longer cook nutritious meals. Without Meals on Wheels, I wouldn't eat well. Thank you." - Doris J.
"Thank you so much Meals on Wheels contributors. It has been such a blessing knowing that meals are there for us. And thank you, volunteers, for making the holidays truly special, with gifts for Christmas and roses on Valentine's Day. All are very much appreciated." - Jen J.
"My wife had a stroke, then a blood clot on her lung. Meals on Wheels has been a Godsend to us" - Loyde E.
"Meals on Wheels has helped me and my nutrition, especially due to the fresh fruits and daily vegetables." - Thelma J.
"Because I've delivered over 11,000 meals in the past, I appreciate the program from both the deliverer's and the client's perspective. Meals on Wheels has good physical, psychological and economic benefit for all concerned. Only with Meals on Wheels am I able to live alone in my own home, and for that I am truly thankful." - Evelyn M.
"To Meals on Wheels, I want to thank you for the 2-dozen roses left at my door. I was so surprised! My husband of 70 years, 1 ½ days, always gave me flowers or candy on special days. He went to heaven about 2 years ago. I miss him, but he says I have more work to do here before I can join him. Thank you for making my day." - Betty H., Meals
on Wheels, Bend, OR
What makes our volunteer program successful
COCOA Site Coordinators have heart. They care and nurture the volunteers, serving refreshments and providing a comfortable environment in which to volunteer. The Coordinators practice good retention skills that include listening carefully to the volunteers. The volunteers are allowed to own the route they run, bonding with clients and caring deeply for their wellbeing. Performing small acts of kindness for the seniors
gives our volunteers a feeling of accomplishment.
Notice something a little different around here? We're proud to unveil our new look! Our updated site now focuses on what's most important to us and to the Central Oregon community. Plus, it's mobile-friendly, so you can always browse volunteer opportunities on the go.
If you're a volunteer, your account information is still here as long as you've logged in within the last two years. To access it, just log in to your member profile using the blue Login button located at the top of the screen. If it's been awhile since you've logged on, that's not a problem. You can easily create a new profile by clicking the orange Sign Up button and following the instructions on the screen.
Looking to browse volunteer opportunities but aren't sure where to start? Check out our Organizations section and try out the Cause filter. This will allow you to find a volunteer opportunity that suits your interests.
We hope you like the new site! As always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Looking for something fun to do this weekend? St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner, and we can't think of a better way to celebrate it than to volunteer and/or participate in a family friendly 5k to benefit KIDS Center, one of our local partners!
KIDS Center is a child abuse intervention center that exclusively serves the Central Oregon area. As a partner organization of Volunteer Connect, KIDS Center is often looking for volunteers to support events, help out at the front desk, or even assist with general maintenance needs. Last year alone, KIDS Center had over 165 volunteers assisting with the day-to-day needs of the organization! Volunteers are essential in allowing them to provide much-needed services to an ever growing number of Central Oregon families.
For more information on KIDS Center and the St. Patrick's Day Dash on March 12, please make sure to check out our KIDS Center page.
Central Oregon's Link to Volunteer Opportunities
Central Oregon's Link to Volunteer Opportunities