The Meals on Wheels concept originated in Great Britain during World War II, when volunteers provided food for people who lost their homes during the bombing. In 1947, the modern program as we know it began there with meals delivered to frail elderly. It found its way to Philadelphia in 1954, and, since then, it has spread to all the states and most counties in the United States.
In 1972, Meals on Wheels arrived in Woodland, when St. John’s United Church of Christ noted a need for nourishing meals among homebound seniors in the community. Volunteer church members began to deliver meals prepared by St. John’s Retirement Village to seven elder residents in Woodland. The program grew rapidly over the next few years, but when donations could no longer cover rising expenses (a meal cost $3.50 at the time), this service was discontinued by the church out of necessity.
The Economic Opportunity Commission of Yolo County, Inc, a non-profit corporation, whose mission was to provide services to low income people, filled the void by continuing meal service to the elderly in Woodland in 1975. The name and mission have changed over the past 37 years to People Resources, Inc. and Elderly Nutrition Program (ENP) in Yolo County, Inc. During that time, the ENP/Meals on Wheels program has grown to include 4 congregate meals sites and 23 home delivery routes throughout the county.
But no matter how we are known, we remain at our core an independent, public benefit organization and grassroots endeavor at heart - dependent on community support, understanding, and partnering to fulfill our mission of providing critical nourishment and social interaction to our elder neighbors, regardless of income.