TMC and Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona

 

Tucson Medical Center and Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona have a long-standing partnership that is delivering special friendship to isolated and homebound Arizonans.

For nearly 50 years, Mobile Meals has delivered nutritious, locally-prepared meals to elderly and disabled adults in Tucson and the greater area. The homegrown nonprofit supports the independence, health and dignity of homebound adults by providing home-delivered, special-diet meals each day.

Special effort providing special meals

“What makes Mobile Meals unique is we deliver meals that are specially prepared for each client’s specific nutritional needs,” said Tamara McKinney, executive director of Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona. “And they are delivered daily by volunteers who really care about our client’s health and well-being.”

The added challenge of delivering medically-tailored meals doesn’t discourage McKinney or the organization. “That’s when people need us most – 94 percent of our clients need a special diet,” she explained. “Our Mobile Meals dietitian works closely with each client’s medical provider to determine what specific diet is needed.”

A community working together

McKinney noted that Mobile Meals doesn’t happen without the support of local organizations. “TMC has been a key partner since Mobile Meals began in 1970, together we are helping our community’s most vulnerable adults maintain their health and independence.”

The specialized meals are prepared at TMC each day, explained Ruth Halter, TMC’s manager of food services and Mobile Meals board member. “Proper nutrition is key to maintaining health in general, but it becomes increasingly important when someone has a chronic medical condition such as heart disease, kidney disease or diabetes.”

Halter added that the meals have an indelible and positive effect. “Those receiving Mobile Meals are able to continue living at home – which is a benefit to our patients and the community as a whole.”

Volunteers make the difference

Like clockwork, a supervisor reviews the meals in the TMC Kitchen, ensuring each recipient receives the correct food. Volunteers soon arrive to pick-up and deliver.

“The delivery is the best part,” said Mobile Meals volunteer Bev Lundquist. “We sit, talk and get to know one another – I’m friends with every person I deliver to.”

The connection and friendships that are cultivated through mobile meals go a long way. “They’d be happy to see me even if I didn’t have any food,” Lundquist said. “It’s very fulfilling to know we are making a real difference in the lives of people in need – we get such a great sense of community.”

Improving health, enriching lives

McKinney explained the volunteers are very passionate, motivated by the challenges recipients are facing – including isolation.

“Many recipients live alone and really look forward to interacting with our volunteers,” she said. “The visits are more than meal delivery or social visits; for many of those isolated and medically fragile adults, the volunteers are making sure they’re safe.”

McKinney explained that a client fainted during a recent delivery visit. The volunteer was able to call 911 and get the client immediate medical attention. “Can you imagine what might have happened if our volunteer hadn’t been there? Many of our clients have outlived their friends and family, and our volunteers might be the only people they see in a week.”

Grateful for community partnership

“We are so thankful for the local support that makes our program possible and for our partnership with TMC,” said McKinney. “Our collaboration shows how we can bring together needed resources to protect our most vulnerable, and it inspires volunteerism to make a positive change for our whole community.”

To volunteer or donate to Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona, call (520) 622-1600 or email info@mobilemealsoftucson.org.

 

 

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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