sad looking older man

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Dear Friends,

Fred, a retired teacher and coach, was suddenly widowed when his wife of 60 years passed away unexpectedly.  He desperately missed the close companionship of his wife and in his grief, became uninterested in eating—unable to muster any enthusiasm for shopping or meal preparation.  Losing weight and sinking further into his depression, Fred was beginning to show signs of memory loss and confusion.  Sadly, eating alone significantly raises the risk of malnutrition in older adults, which often accelerates memory loss, the onset of dementia, and other health issues.   

Luckily for Fred, his out-of-state daughter noticed the changes and connected with Southern Maine Agency on Aging to sign her father up for Meals on Wheels.  Older homebound seniors are Maine’s "hidden hungry"—often unable to ask for help, and in many cases, living alone with no close family or support systems.

Last year, our Meals on Wheels volunteer drivers delivered more than 155,000 meals to 1,555 homebound seniors in Cumberland and York counties.  For many of them, the meals they receive might be the only meal they eat that day and the volunteer driver may be the only contact they have with the outside world during the week. 

The good news is that Fred’s situation, thanks to Meals on Wheels, is slowly changing from one of loneliness and hunger to a more engaged and healthy life.  His appetite is returning and he looks forward to seeing his Meals on Wheels driver during the week for a little conversation and a friendly visit.  Now that he is eating nutritious meals on a daily basis, Fred’s mental acuity is improving and he has more energy for life.  

Mainers have a strong tradition of neighbors helping neighbors.  As you spend time with your families and friends this holiday season and give thanks for your many blessings, I urge you to remember Fred’s story and the many older adults like him who are struggling with food insecurity and other basic needs. Please consider making a gift to Southern Maine Agency on Aging and help your aging neighbors live at home.

I promise you—your gift, of any size, will make a difference.



Laurence W. Gross
Chief Executive Officer