Meals on Wheels of Rowan needs its own kitchen

Published 12:11 am Saturday, April 25, 2015

By Jeff Schall

Meals on Wheels of Rowan

I wanted to take some time to share some background of Meals on Wheels of Rowan and why it is so important to us to own and manage our own kitchen.

Meals on Wheels of Rowan is a nonprofit Rowan County United Way Agency with a mission: “To provide a meal and friendly visit to the homebound of Rowan County.”  Meals on Wheels chooses to remain independent from federal government funding; therefore, we depend solely on contributions from individuals, businesses, churches, foundations/grant funding (non-federal), and United Way to support our mission.

In August of 1976, community-minded citizens of Rowan County recognized that many homebound residents were unable to prepare meals for themselves. These concerned citizens established Meals on Wheels as a community-based, nonprofit organization. The simple and generous act of preparing and delivering a daily nutritious meal allowed the homebound to remain at home, which was their main concern and where they were most comfortable. The program began by serving meals to 10 clients. Meals on Wheels of Rowan now averages a daily distribution of 207 meals without regard to race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, and/or ability to pay. The only criteria to qualify for the service are that clients be essentially homebound and unable to have difficulty preparing hot, nutritious meals for themselves.

Over the years we have grown and developed significantly. We believe there are five benefits to owning and running our own kitchen: consolidation, standardization, efficiency, partnerships, and quality. Consolidating meal preparation to one location will allow us to produce all meals with one staff (Meals on Wheels employees) and co-locate our office and cooking space. Standardizing our menu will provide consistency to our clients. Efficiencies will be created through centralized planning which will allow us to control costs and leverage buying power. Creating partnerships with like organizations will allow us to work together, share ideas and benefit the entire Salisbury community. Finally, it is important for us to serve our clients with the highest quality meal possible because our reputation and their satisfaction are at stake. We believe that owning and running our own kitchen will allow us to serve more clients and provide a better overall service.

Our staff and board of directors are committed to making this project a reality. We have been researching and planning for several years with the help of so many people. Plans are in place, and we continue to march forward. We know we can’t do this alone — we will need the support of the entire community!

We are formally kicking off our capital campaign and hope to raise additional awareness about our project through our Itchin’ for a Kitchen Gala on Saturday, May 2 at the F&M Trolley Barn from 5:30 to 10:30 pm. For more information about the gala or ways you can help Meals on Wheels of Rowan, please visit our website,

Schall is treasurer and a volunteer with Meals on Wheels of Rowan.