St. Pete approves 50 percent funding increase for Meals on Wheels as 800 seniors sit on waiting list

Meals on Wheels in Pinellas County provides thousands of senior’s no-cost meals each year, but the cost of those meals has increased along with the need in the community.

In 2021, neighborly volunteers and staff delivered 633,500 meals to seniors. The cost per meal is now $9, which has tripled since 2017 when the city of St. Petersburg started providing funding to the non-profit.

"It’s been a real challenge because of the cost of fuel to deliver meals, the cost of food in the meals. Those higher prices have badly all of our clients and our ability to continue at the level that we do," Susan McIntyre, Meals on Wheels development director said.

In addition to rising costs, the program currently has more than 800 seniors on the waiting list for meals, more than 200 of them are in St. Petersburg.

READ: "They need the food we bring them every day," Meals on Wheels pushes through challenges of rising gas prices

In recognition of that growing need, St. Pete City Council members approved $75,000 in funding for the Meals on Wheels program, which is a 50% increase.

Packaged meals delivered by Meals on Wheels.

The cost per meal is now $9, which has tripled since 2017 when the city of St. Petersburg started providing funding to the non-profit.

"For them to come up with this much additional funding really made a difference and it’s also reassuring for us that they heard it and they understand the needs of their senior residents," McIntyre stated.

READ: Volunteers deliver dishes with side of companionship to Bay Area homebound seniors

The additional funding will help offset some of the increased costs and help to get seniors off the waiting list.

Meals on Wheels volunteer loads meal into the car.

St. Pete City Council members approved $75,000 in funding for the Meals on Wheels Program, which is a 50% increase.

"We have an opportunity to say we are a city where everyone has access to nutritious food and we’re working to do that," Gina Driscoll, St. Petersburg City Council Chair said.

There is currently a critical need for volunteers to deliver meals in Largo and St. Petersburg.

LINK: Click here for information on how to volunteer.