Recently Meals on Wheels of Salem County held Mayors for Meals with mayors and elected officials from the county in honor of the 2019 March for Meals Community Champions Week. Across the country last week, Meals on Wheels programs have enlisted elected officials, local celebrities and other prominent figures to deliver meals, speak out for seniors and raise awareness for the power of Meals on Wheels.

“I can’t emphasize enough that we are providing more than just a meal to our senior and disabled clients – people who are homebound and alone,” said Carly Melchert, Executive Director of the Meals on Wheels program. “The meals are delivered by a friendly volunteer who spends a few minutes conversing with the client and checking on their safety. We want our meals and safety checks to continue well into the future, which is why we look to the public, our public officials and business leaders for help.”

During this event our local officials learned about a relationship the program has developed with Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health New Jersey. “Our consumers enjoy delivering meals and visiting with the Meals on Wheels clients,” stated Janet Jones, Vocational Coordinator at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health New Jersey. “Our consumers aren’t just learning communication and social skills – this partnership allows two groups of isolated individuals to come together to create meaningful relationships.”

The annual March for Meals commemorates the historic day in March 1972 when President Nixon signed into law a measure that amended the Older Americans Act of 1965 and established a national nutrition program for seniors 60 years and older. Since 2002, Meals on Wheels programs from across the country have joined forces for the annual awareness campaign to celebrate this successful public-private partnership and garner the support needed to fill the gap between the seniors served and those still in need.

“We commend all of our 2019 Community Champions for stepping up in support of Meals on Wheels,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “With 12,000 Americans turning 60 each day, now is the time to invest in these vital programs so that we can provide every senior in need with the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that will enable them to live healthier and independent in their own homes.”

For more information on how you can volunteer, contribute or speak out for the seniors in Salem County contact Carly Melchert at .

About Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health:

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health is one of the largest and most advanced behavioral healthcare organizations in the country. They have a unique model that connects the latest scientific and medical advancements to practical, effective interventions in the treatment of behavioral health.

They were founded in 1912 by one of the first pioneers in the field, Helena Devereux. Today, they are a national nonprofit partner for individuals, families, schools and communities, serving many of the most vulnerable members of our society in areas of autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, specialty mental health, and child welfare.

Informed by the latest advancements in science and medicine, they combine evidence-based interventions with compassionate family engagement to help change lives. Their programs are offered in hospital and residential, community, and school-based settings.

They include:

  • Comprehensive Assessment, Diagnostics and Measurement to support data-driven care
  • Evidence-based Treatment & Special Education
  • Transition and Independent Life Services
  • Family Education and Professional Training
  • Research and Innovation to advance the field
  • Advocacy, Public Awareness and Prevention
Group photo with banner

Left to right: Carly Melchert, Meals on Wheels Executive Director; Ellen Pompper, Mayor of Lower Alloways Creek; Edward Meschi, Deputy Mayor of Upper Pittsgrove; Betsy Amoroso, Mannington Mills and Meals on Wheels Board Co-Chair; Heather Janci, Deveruex. 2nd row left to right: John Washington, Mayor of Penns Grove; Charles Washington Jr., Mayor of Salem; Lee Ware, Freeholder; Ken Brown, Mayor of Carneys Point; Charles Newton, Deputy Mayor of Carneys Point; Robert McDade, Mayor of Pennsville; Janet Jones, Devereux; Staci J. Dempsey, Dempsey Weiss & Associates and Meals on Wheels Board Chair. 3rd row left to right: Don Asay, Mayor of Mannington and Meals on Wheels Board member; Frank Midili, Janney Montogomery Scott and Meals on Wheels Board member; and Bill Masten, Pennsville National Bank and Meals on Wheels Board member.

Group photo holding large spoon and fork

Left to right: Bill Masten, Pennsville National Bank and Meals on Wheels Board member; Heather Janci, Devereux; Janet Jones, Devereux; Carly Melchert, Meals on Wheels; Betsy Amoroso, Mannington Mills and Meals on Wheels Board Co-Chair; and Staci J. Dempsey, Dempsey Weiss and Associates and Meals on Wheels Board Chair.

Dennis and Laury deliver food

Ben Laury, Salem County Freeholder Director delivers meals with Meals on Wheels Board member Dennis Gallagher of Intraprise Health.