Meals on Wheels originated in England during World War II, when the women's Volunteer Services were organized to help Civil Defense. The first successful program in the United States began in Philadelphia in 1954 and has spread throughout major cities in the United States.
Meals on Wheels of Long Beach (MOWLB) began as a pilot program and service project of Soroptimist International of Long Beach after many months of research and preparation. On March 1, 1971, MOWLB opened at the First Congregational Church in downtown Long Beach with ten clients. In l972 MOWLB incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Because of the need for home delivered meals, the program grew rapidly and soon expanded into three more church sites throughout Long Beach and Signal Hill. Now over 350 clients are served in their homes daily.
MOWLB is a non-profit community service for persons unable to prepare adequate meals for themselves because of disability, age or chronic or temporary illness, thus assisting them to remain in their own homes. MOWLB provides home delivery of two nutritionally balanced meals per day at nominal cost and is available to all Long Beach, Signal Hill and Leisure World Seal Beach residents, regardless of age.
Meals on Wheels of Long Beach is not associated with any other "Meals on Wheels" program and is not federally funded. Eligible clients pay the nominal fee if they are able, and if not, under certain conditions may be subsidized. MOWLB serves over 155,000 hot dinners and cold lunches annually with the suipport of over 300 dedicated volunteers.