Meals on Wheels Client Welcome Packet

Welcome to Meals on Wheels

As the largest provider of Meals on Wheels in Vermont, Age Well welcomes you to our programs and services.

With the help of over 1,100 dedicated volunteers and community partners, we oversee over 70 routes, delivering more than 250,000 meals annually to older adults in Northwestern Vermont.

Most of our services are provided at no charge. As a nonprofit, we depend on donations to provide the support and guidance that inspires our community to embrace aging with confidence.

About Age Well’s Meals on Wheels

When are meals delivered? Volunteers deliver meals Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Weekend meals are also available if needed.

Do I have to be home to receive my meal? Yes! You must be home when your meal is delivered.
Due to health and safety regulations, we cannot leave meals outside or in coolers. Our volunteer drivers enjoy their visits with you and donate their time and mileage to bring meals. If you are not going to be home, please be mindful of their generosity, the meal costs, and call Age Well to cancel your meal, providing at least 24-hours notice. If you do not provide notice, we will reach out to your emergency contact and local hospitals to ensure that you are safe.

What is included in the meal? Meals are created to meet the dietary and food safety guidelines required by the Older Americans Act. A typical meal consists of 2-3 ounces of protein, complex carbohydrate (such as sweet potato, rice or pasta), one and a half cups of fruit or vegetables, a grain (preferably whole grain), milk and dessert (often includes fruit). Salt is not added to foods during cooking, though in some foods it may naturally occur.

Are meals available for people with special diets? Yes! When possible, our registered dietitian can provide nutrition counseling and work with our chef to modify your meal.

What does my meal cost? A voluntary contribution of $5 per meal is suggested to help offset the cost of meals. Contributions in any amount are always accepted and appreciated. Donation envelopes are provided to clients at the beginning of every month. Contributions can also be made in person at Age Well or online at: Individuals are never denied service for inability to contribute towards the cost of their meals.

Is Meals on Wheels just a meal? At the core of Meals on Wheels is a nutritious meal, companionship and a watchful eye on the health and safety of those that we serve. Along with the inevitable impacts of aging come the increased risk of medical emergencies, falls and accidents. The friendly visit and safety check that accompany each visit ensures that our clients remain healthy, safe and at home, where they want to be.

What happens when there is bad weather? Sometimes the weather prevents us from delivering your meal. Generally, if schools in your area are closed, so are we. You may call us to confirm. To help ensure that you have food during bad weather, we provide two meals in late November for you to use in an emergency.

How to Reheat Your Meal

  • Most meals are provided in trays that can be reheated in the microwave or oven.
  • DO NOT reheat microwavable meals in a toaster oven. They will catch fire!
  • DO NOT put metal trays in microwave.

Reheating in the Microwave

  • Peel back plastic cover on all four corners slightly to allow steam to escape.
  • If bread is included in one of the meal sections, remove it prior to microwaving.
  • Place the meal tray in the microwave and cook it on high for 2 – 3 minutes.
  • If the contents are not to desired temperature, cook for an additional minute.

Reheating in the Oven

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Peel back plastic cover on all four corners slightly to allow steam to escape.
  • Place the meal tray on a cookie sheet to protect it from direct heat.
  • Put in oven for 30 – 40 minutes or until warm

About Safety Checks

If you are not going to be home to receive your meal, please call Age Well in advance at 802-662-5006 to cancel your meal delivery or create an alternative delivery arrangement. When a volunteer driver has not been notified in advance that you will not be home to receive your meal, they will attempt to deliver the meal and initiate the Safety Check protocol to ensure your safety and wellbeing.

Safety Check Protocol

The Age Well volunteer will knock on your door, if there is no answer, they will call you on the phone number you provided to us. If they are unable to reach you in person or on the phone, they will check to see if the door is unlocked. If it is, they will open the door and call inside loudly to announce themselves. The volunteers are instructed to enter to make sure you are okay and have not experienced a medical emergency or a fall.

If they do not find you, they will alert Nutrition Support Staff at Age Well who will contact your Emergency Contact after to trying to reach you again by phone. If they do not get through to you or your Emergency Contact, they will escalate this further to the local police to perform a Wellness Check.

Please be sure to keep both your Emergency Contact name and phone number up-to-date with our staff.

Please note if you do not wish for volunteers to enter your home under any circumstance, please alert Nutrition Support at 802-662-5006 and they will make note on your file.