Meals on Wheels Gets a Flat

On February 20, 2024 my co-driver and I made our last Meals on Wheels (MOW) delivery. Between the two of us, we have over 25 years being GrubHub before there was GrubHub to make sure some of our more vulnerable neighbors in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania and Stafford received nutritious weekday meals for a fair price. We have picked up meals at Mary Washington Hospital cafeteria during the heat, the cold, hurricanes, blizzards and the indeterminable Pandemic. We maneuvered our civilian vehicles amongst the behemoth laundry, medical supply, and FEDEX tractor trailers, often jockeying with instrument sharpening vans and the inevitable occasional hearse for parking spots in the limited area of the hospital’s loading dock. 

Over the years we have watched our clients come and go, some stayed for years; some participated only a month. Most we fell a little bit in love with. These folks were real people with real smiles and real ideas. They were more than, “No Salt” or “No Rice” or “Green Beans Only” written on the label of their meal boxes. They answered the door in pajamas, dressed fit to preach to a full congregation or in attire totally interchangeable with our own. A few we never saw, preferring only to have the meal placed on a bench to be retrieved at a later time; of course, we left the meals.  

I use the imperial “we” here as there are over 25 drivers who deliver these meals, not just the two of us, but we ALL care. On February 6 of this month, we got an email from our coordinator, with the message, “This program has operated successfully for over four decades. But Mary Washington Hospital Meals Services has decided to end food services for our program effective March 1st. This decision was not taken lightly because of the tremendous community support it brings,” and bam, now the program is ending, and we are left wondering why. To date, there is no recourse to the termination of the program.  

I’m confused; who thought this was a good plan and who benefits from the termination of this program?

Mary Raye Cox
Falmouth, Va.