History of Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels originated in Great Britain during the Blitz, when many people lost their homes and therefore the ability to cook their own food. The Woman’s Volunteer Service for Civil Defence, (WVS, later WRVS), provided food for these people. The name “Meals on Wheels” derived from the WVS’s related activity of bringing meals to servicemen. The concept of delivering meals to those unable to prepare their own evolved into the modern programs that deliver mostly to housebound seniors. There are now programs worldwide.
Locally, “Mobile Meals” was started on February 5, 1967 by a North Vancouver woman named Jess Smith who saw a need in the community and delivered the first meal herself.
The first committee was comprised of volunteers from the United Way and volunteers from various church women’s groups across the North Shore. It became incorporated as The North Shore Meals on Wheels Society on January 27th, 1978. The purpose of the Society is to provide and deliver hot, nutritious meals three days a week to those who, because of age, illness or disability cannot always prepare meals for themselves.
The society has a 10 member Board of Directors, who are all volunteers, and a Coordinator who is a part time paid employee. There are over 120 volunteers who ensure that the food is delivered hot and on time for lunch. These include food transporters, team captains, kitchen workers and drivers.
North Shore Meals on Wheels is a registered charitable foundation funded in part by a grant from Vancouver Coastal Health, the three North Shore Municipalities, West Vancouver Community Foundation, North Shore Community Foundation, various North Shore Legions and others. A complete list can be found under Donors.
North Shore Meals on Wheels is part of a network of services that works to ensure clients can maintain their independence and remain in their own homes.
We participate in an awareness campaign called “Mayors for Meals” which takes place each Spring throughout North America whereby local civic officials deliver meals to clients thus demonstrating their support for our cause.