Our Story

OUR MISSION

Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels provides nutritious meals, social contact and other services to the homebound elderly, ill and disabled in eastern Washtenaw County, to enable them to enjoy healthier, safer, and more independent lives.

OUR VISION

A community where every senior feels nourished, valued and supported.

OUR VALUES

Compassion

We exercise compassion by taking time to listen and chat with a client.

  • We meet people where they are, without judgment or blame, empowering them to age as they choose and with the dignity and respect they deserve.
  • We see our clients not only as they are today, but as the sum total of all that they have been and will be. 

Community

We encourage community by working with other local agencies to provide for our homebound neighbors, and by including our clients’ voices in decisions regarding their care.

  • We embrace collaboration, with our colleagues, clients, volunteers and organizations, toward achievement of our mission and vision.
  • We partner with our volunteers, donors and clients as we strive to protect the role of our homebound neighbors in our community.

Reliability

We demonstrate reliability when meals are delivered on time, at a safe temperature, and with a friendly smile. 

  • We unfailingly deliver on our commitments to others, being accountable and taking ownership of our actions and results.
  • We are responsible stewards of the gifts entrusted to us, honoring those who make it possible for us to improve the lives of others through our work. 

Adaptability

We show our adaptability by offering food and support services that meet the individual needs of our clients.

  • We enthusiastically respond to the changing needs of our clients and community.
  • We are nimble and proactive, anticipating needs and exceeding expectations.
  • We offer vegetarian meals, culturally sensitive options and medically friendly meals, as well as help with household chores, pet support and more to help clients remain safe at home. 

OUR COMMITMENT TO EQUALITY

Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels stands in solidarity with those hurt, frustrated, angry, discouraged and disenfranchised by recent events stemming from institutional racism. We support our black and brown neighbors, our racially diverse staff and clients, residents of the greater Ypsilanti area, and communities all across the country, as the long-fought fight for racial equality continues.

We commit to continued inclusion in all forms and remain dedicated to our mission of providing food and well-being support to homebound, at-risk, isolated, and vulnerable neighbors, regardless of race, income, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion.

Awareness leads to dialogue, dialogue leads to understanding, and understanding leads to change. As a community we must decide what we can do to create actionable solutions to embrace what makes us unique, celebrate our communal diversity and heal our nation.

Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels began with a gift of $8,000 and 16 hungry neighbors.

Born of a suggestion by the Ypsilanti’s Mayor’s Council on Aging in the spring of 1973, the City Council agreed to appropriate $8,000 to a meal delivery program to begin on July 1, 1973. William Bingham, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Ypsilanti and a member of the mayor’s Council on Aging, became the organization’s first Executive Director and gave YMOW its first and only home.

Volunteers gathered to prepare meals in the church kitchen and on January 14, 1974, 16 homebound neighbors received their first home-delivered meals. Just like today, each meal included a friendly visit, a bit of conversation, and assurance that the client was safe and well.

For a time, volunteers picked up cold meals from Eastern Michigan University and heated them at each client’s home. As time passed and demand grew, YMOW purchased vans and equipped them with refrigerators and microwave ovens. Later, Valley Food Service of Detroit was contracted to prepare meals and bring them each weekday morning to YMOW’s offices, where they were transferred to YMOW vans and volunteer vehicles for delivery.

In 2019 YMOW began delivering meals prepared by Michigan Medicine. Along with daily hot and cold meals, clients gained access to a weekly vegetarian option. On June 1, 2019, YMOW began Saturday delivery, giving senior clients access to food seven days a week.

Along the way YMOW added services to help seniors age in their homes, including pet food delivery through a partnership with Huron Valley Humane Society, minor home repairs, a personal care pantry, weekly produce deliveries, case management, and CAPABLE - a program to help local seniors live more safely in the comfort of their own home.