Meals on Wheels of the Jamestown Area began serving senior citizens on July 21, 1969. On this day, three hot, balanced meals were delivered to elderly persons in Jamestown area. The dream of many community-minded leaders had become a reality.
Volunteers have labored long and hard to develop the Meals on Wheels program. The founding fathers recruited dieticians, social workers, physicians, labor leaders and area citizens. Everyone's input was necessary, and everyone's help was critical to the success of this venture. Initial plans called for the meals to be prepared at Clair's Dinerette, 19 E. Second St., and delivered by teams of two volunteers. Each team was only expected to deliver five meals. Volunteers had been recruited from women's organizations, area churches and the Student Council at Jamestown High School.
John Alley, an active retiree from Local 338 UAW served as the director, and the city and the First Congregational Church provided space at 322 E. Fourth St. Roland Taft, executive director of Chautauqua Opportunities, served as the president of the MOWs Advisory Board. Joining him as officers was Rev. John Soneson of the Chandler St. Baptist Church, Mrs. Robert B. Carlson and Dr. James P.B. Goodell. As referrals were received, a committee from Meals on Wheels made personal home visits and obtained the participants approval before the meals were delivered.
By October of 1969 deliveries were provided to 19 persons and in January of 1970 meals were prepared at the Terrace Inn on Fluvanna Avenue. By March 1970, 33 deliveries were being made, and requests from the outlying communities, (Celoron, Falconer, Frewsburg, etc.) were being received.
Chautauqua Opportunities, the Chautauqua County Commission on Aging, and the local UAW union all worked to staff the program with Senior Aides, and the UAW was instrumental in procuring 2 delivery vans to meet the increased demand for service.
Meals preparations moved through the Jamestown General Hospital kitchen, to Schyler Simmons Catering, the central kitchen at Washington School to DeBell Vending. Delivery vans remain in use and volunteers continue to play a major part in the system. The association with the county continued with the development of the Office for the Aging, the UAW local still has representation on the board of directors, and Chautauqua Opportunities operated a rural home delivered meal program through 1995.
MEALS ON WHEELS PRESENT
Since 1995, meal preparation has again gone back to the Central Kitchen at Washington Middle School, and Meals on Wheels has taken over the rural home deliveries in two-thirds of Chautauqua County from Chautauqua Opportunities. Now, Meals on Wheels is a contract agent with Chautauqua County Office For the Aging, with Dunkirk-Fredonia Meals on Wheels a subcontractor for the delivery of subsidized meals in the northern parts of Chautauqua County. A dozen delivery vehicles are used each weekday to get meals in the hands of our community’s senior citizens. Last year, more than 140,000 meals were served in the Jamestown Meals on Wheels territory.
Along with these changes, Meals on Wheels has changed office locations as well. After eight years located at the former Firch Bakery on Eighth Street in Jamestown, Meals on Wheels moved out to Falconer thanks to local developer Gary Lynn of Community Development Association L.L.C. The organization has called two of Lynn’s buildings home, with the current office located at 2020 Allen Street Extension in the former Kling’s and Ethan Allen Furniture factory.
In 1995, meal preparation went back to the Central Kitchen at Washington Middle School, and Meals on Wheels took over the rural home deliveries in two-thirds of Chautauqua County from Chautauqua Opportunities.
Now, Meals on Wheels is a contract agent with Chautauqua County Office For the Aging, with Dunkirk-Fredonia Meals on Wheels a subcontractor for the delivery of subsidized meals in the northern parts of Chautauqua County.
In April 2008, Meals on Wheels began receiving its meals from the Chautauqua County Jail in Mayville as a result of a change in meal providers.
In October 2008, Meals on Wheels moved to its current offices at 3045 Fluvanna Avenue, Jamestown, which helped reduced the travel time and distance for the organization to obtain the meals each day.
In April, 2011, Meals on Wheels began receiving its meals from WCA Hospital and its kitchen located at the Jones Hill Campus.
A dozen delivery vehicles are used each weekday to get meals in the hands of our community’s senior citizens. Last year, more than 125,000 meals were served in the Jamestown Meals on Wheels territory.