Nineteen million meals delivered to RI seniors, homebound

Joseph Brisson, 88 talks with Meals on Wheels RI Executive Director Meghan Grady (center) and Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging Director Rose Amoros Jones (at left) as he receives the group’s 19 millionth meal. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

By Steve Klamkin WPRO News

Joseph Brisson was sitting at home with his daughter in Cranston Tuesday, when a delegation from Meals on Wheels of RI brought him a prepared salmon meal, the 19 millionth meal delivered by the non-profit group that’s been providing food, companionship and a vital check-in for homebound seniors and others for 50 years.

“I mean, without the meal, what are we going to do? We’ve got to eat,” said Brisson, 88. The widowed, U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War lives alone with his cat at the D’evan Manor Apartments said he’s fine with the salmon dinner he was served.

“It’s alright, whatever they give me, I eat,” he said.

“Not only do we provide a nutritious meal,” said Meals on Wheels of RI Executive Director Meghan Grady, “it’s a safety check and it helps seniors really deal with isolation and loneliness when they’re homebound.”

Meals are paid for, in part by federal funds and by money from the Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging.

“Programs that are going into the home like Meals on Wheels are critical programs,” said OHA Director Rose Amoros Jones. Seniors, she said, welcome the chance to stay in their homes.

“What they tell us is that if they have the opportunity they want to be able to age in the community and have the supports in the home or outside in their neighborhoods and in their community that they need in order to thrive and be happy,” Jones said.

Meals on Wheels RI plans a gala celebration for its 50th anniversary in November.