Residents of Woodridge, Naperville, and Darien have a lot on their minds in the wake of this week’s tornados, but accessing food is one thing Meals on Wheels Northeastern Illinois (MWNEI) has taken off their shoulders. Partnering with the American Red Cross, MWNEI is getting an emergency supply of meals into the hands of people who need it most.
“Meals on Wheels has been invaluable in helping us provide meals to the victims of yesterday’s tornado,” said Hank Welsh of American Red Cross who has been coordinating the effort. They‘ve been wonderful and have always had our back on numerous other disasters this year.
MWNEI’s Executive Director, Deborah Morganfield, spoke of her vision for this partnership years earlier and wove it into their plan when rebuilding the organization a few years ago.
“Monday through Saturday, our kitchen produces meals that our powerhouse movement of more than 800 volunteers delivers to homebound neighbors,” she said. “After those deliveries go out, there are extra meals that are frozen for these emergent purposes.”
One in six seniors struggles to access food nationally, said Ms. Morganfield. “MWNEI’s new production facility has enabled that need to be better addressed, and it allows us to control the quality of those meals. Meals are made with fresh ingredients daily and include unexpected menu items such as chicken marsala with mushrooms in a wine reduction and shrimp-topped pasta salad with lemon dill dressing, as well as favorite comfort foods like meatloaf and mashed potatoes.”
MWNEI remained open throughout the pandemic, creating safe delivery protocols and making calls to clients to reduce isolation and provide well checks.
“Our community has depended on us for 52 years, we were not about to let them down,” said Ms. Morganfield.