Meals On Wheels, Inc. of Tarrant County is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization that started in 1973 as a collaboration between 11 faith-based organizations in downtown Fort Worth to bring food to the elderly. Over the years, we have grown and now serve all of Tarrant County, providing approximately 1.3 million meals each year to some of Tarrant County’s frailest citizens. By providing home-delivered meals, professional case management, and other needed items or services to our homebound, elderly and disabled clients, we enable them to remain living independently in their own homes, surrounded by a lifetime of memories.
Due to illness or the blessing of many birthdays, the majority of our clients can no longer remain at home without assistance. Without our help, many of our clients would be forced into nursing homes or other care facilities. Our goal is to keep our clients in their homes – where they want to be – for as long as possible.
Some people may be recovering from a hospital stay or illness and will only be on the program for a short period of time. Others have a long-term need and may receive home-delivered meals on an ongoing basis.
Meals are delivered by over 5,400 caring volunteers who freely give of their time and personal resources to ensure that our clients receive a nutritious meal. These caring individuals do more than just provide a meal and a friendly home visit. They are trained to contact our office if a client does not answer the door. This daily safety check gives many of our clients and their families an added peace of mind.
From humble beginnings to a benchmark program that now serves approximately 1.3 million meals per year, Meals On Wheels of Tarrant County is an immense source of pride for the citizens of Tarrant County, Texas. Despite our tremendous growth, our commitment to helping the homebound, elderly and disabled residents of Tarrant County remain in their own homes will never change.
To enable people to live with dignity and independence by offering community support through nutritious meals and coordinated services that improve well-being.
In 1972, representatives from 11 downtown Fort Worth faith-based organizations met to discuss hunger in the central city. These organizations included Broadway Baptist, Central Baptist, Greater St. James Baptist, Mt. Gilead Baptist, First Christian, First United Methodist, First Presbyterian, Gethsemane Presbyterian, St. Andrew’s Episcopal, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Temple Beth-El. From this meeting, the Association of Central City Ministries (ACCM) was formed. Its first concern was providing meals to the elderly. ACCM made the commitment to bring food to the elderly in the central city area and on May 15, 1973, Meals On Wheels of Tarrant County was begun using all volunteer help. On that day, 25 people were fed. Meals On Wheels of Tarrant County owes a debt of gratitude to the members of ACCM and the many volunteers from these organizations who worked so diligently to make it a success. These wonderful faith-based organizations continue to support Meals On Wheels as we serve those in need within our community.
In 1989, Meals On Wheels of Tarrant County turned to the community to ask for help to fund a central kitchen. Rapidly escalating costs from food service companies as well as limited control of the final product compelled us to seek our own meal-preparation facility. Within eight months, an existing building was purchased and renovated into both the central kitchen and administrative offices. Although the building was expanded a number of times over the years, in 2010, the Board of Directors decided the best course of action was to construct a new meal-production facility that could meet the ever-increasing demand for services.
In January 2015, we embarked on an exciting new chapter in the history of Meals On Wheels as we broke ground on a new 62,000-square-foot meal production and distribution facility. We relocated to the new facility in March 2016. The current building, located at 5740 Airport Freeway in Haltom City, now houses the central kitchen, volunteer training center, nutrition intern project center, storage and distribution center, meeting space, and administrative offices.
The number of clients and meals served dramatically increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. By the end of our 2020 fiscal year, the number of clients increased 57% and the number of meals served increased 45% from our pre-pandemic levels. This tremendous growth pushed the agency to its limits as our budget increase from $6.8 million in 2019 to $13.3 million in 2023. By the end of 2022, the number of meals served and our budget and both increased 90% from our pre-pandemic levels! To keep up with current and future demand, we turned our attention to sustainability. As part of this plan, we are once again expanding our facility by approximately 17,000 sf to accommodate additional freezer and dry storage space, client assistance storage, office space for our Adult Activity Centers staff, and expanding the sally port to accommodate the increased fleet of delivery vans. Funding for this project has been secured through the American Rescue Plan Act and construction is expected to begin in April 2023.
Much has changed since 1972; however, the original commitment to serve elderly and disabled people will never change. With your assistance, we are helping our homebound, elderly, disabled, and food-insure friends and neighbors remain living at home by providing meals, needed services, and a caring smile.
- Median age: 75 years
- 88% of clients are over the age of 60
- 63% of clients are female
- Median client monthly income: $1,200
- Meals served to minority clients: 42%