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Meals on Wheels adds vegetarian options to menu

Meals on Wheels People will launch a daily vegetarian meal option for homebound clients beginning Monday, Jan. 19.

Vegetarian meals have been available at the organization’s 34 neighborhood dining centers for several years, but not in the packaged meals delivered each day to senior citizens and others.

“We are receiving more requests for a vegetable-based diet from our homebound clients,” said Suzanne Washington, Meals on Wheels People executive director. “We deliver nearly 3,000 meals to homebound seniors daily and about 100 of those have requested an all-vegetarian diet.”

Meals for homebound clients are cooked at the Meals on Wheels People Central Kitchen in Multnomah Village and shipped daily to neighborhood centers where they are heated and delivered by volunteers. Requests for vegetarian meals were not high enough to warrant creating a special meal package until recently, Washington said.

“Baby boomers, who are accustomed to a variety of different menu options, are driving this change,” she said. “We anticipate that the number of clients requesting the vegetarian option will double within six months.”

Meals on Wheels People have delivered food to homebound senior citizens and others since 1970. With the help of 8,500 volunteers, the nonprofit organization serves 5,000 meals daily and 1.2 million meals each year.

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