Get Meals Handbook

Meals on Wheels is a nation-wide project. Each Meals on Wheels program operates a little differently. Our Meals on Wheels, or MOW, is different from the one in Hermitage, Ellwood City or Grove City.

We thought it would be helpful to give you information about our MOW program.

 

What kind of program is Meals on Wheels of New Castle?

  • Many communities have meal programs, but they are not all the same. In New Castle, there are two main programs; a frozen meal program and a fresh meal program.
  • Meals on Wheels of New Castle delivers fresh, ready to eat food, Mondays through Fridays. We do not deliver frozen food.
  • Challenges offers a low-cost, FROZEN meal program; frozen meals are delivered to your door, once weekly.
  • There may be other meal or subsidy programs available through other services.

Where do you deliver?

  • We deliver to most of New Castle and parts of Lawrence County. We do not go to all parts of New Castle or Lawrence County.
  • Some areas have delivery only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Call the office to determine if you are in our delivery area.

Am I eligible?

  • There are no eligibility requirements for MOW. You can be any age or have any type of medical condition.
  • Most of our clients are elderly and have trouble shopping for groceries or preparing food.
  • Sometimes our clients are younger, but have a health condition or disability and need assistance with their meals.
  • We also have clients who have had surgery and need help as they recover.

Can I sign up for a short duration or is it long term?

  • Some clients only need help for a short time as they recover. Our minimum length of service is one month.
  • Other clients receive Meals on Wheels for years.

Is it free or is there a charge? How much does it cost?

  • Meals on Wheels is not a free program.
  • Currently the fee is $6 per day, which covers one hot and one brown bag meal.
  • Our fee may increase if our food costs increase.

Is it covered by insurance?

  • We do not accept insurance payments and we are not a Medicare provider.

How do I sign up?

  • It’s as simple as a phone call. You, or a family member, can call the MOW office and discuss the meal services you need.
  • You do not need to come to the office, but the coordinator may visit you in your home to meet you and see where to bring your meals.

What kind of food can I get?

  • You will receive two meals each day of delivery. One meal is hot, a dinner, and the other is cold, a lunch, or “brown bag”. All meals are freshly prepared and never frozen.
  • Deliveries are always one hot, one cold meal, no other combinations are available.
  • We do not provide breakfast. A sample menu is enclosed in your packet.

Who prepares the food?

  • UPMC Jameson Care Center prepares our food.

Who makes up the menu?

  • UPMC Jameson Care Center Director of Nutritional Services establishes the menu.

Can I make substitutions to the menu?

  • We can make slight changes to the menu if our client is diabetic, is on a low-sodium diet, or is on medications that affect diet.
  • Our menu is “fixed”, not like a menu at a restaurant where you can make choices. You cannot choose what you want to eat.

How do I get my food?

  • Volunteers deliver our meals directly to your home between 11:00-12:30, Mondays through Fridays.

Do I have to get meals all five days?

  • You can choose which days you would like delivery, as long as it’s the same each week. You may want meals on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Do I get meals on the weekend?

  • No, we do not deliver on Saturday or Sunday. We do not deliver on major holidays.

On which holidays do you deliver?

  • We deliver on holidays such as Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Martin Luther King Day, Valentine’s Day
  • We don’t deliver on July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Good Friday, or Memorial Day.
  • Please look at your bill; it will list the dates we do not deliver.

What happens if I can’t get to my door when the volunteer comes?

  • Sometimes our clients can’t hear the doorbell. At your request, we can call you a few minutes before we get there so you are ready.
  • Sometimes our clients have trouble walking and can’t answer the door. If you have trouble getting to the door, you can leave your door unlocked. With your permission we can enter your home and put your food on your table or in your refrigerator.
  • OR you can leave a cooler or ice chest by the door and we will leave your food there.

Why do I have to have an ice chest? Can’t you just leave my food?

  • We have to keep your food safe. We have to protect it from the weather and keep it safe from animals.
  • If you can’t answer the door, we can leave your food in an ice chest or foam cooler.
  • We can’t leave your food in a tote bag, sack or box.
  • If you don’t have an ice chest, and we try to deliver but can’t, you will get charged for the food.

What happens if I am not going to be home and I want to cancel?

  • If you don’t want your meal, if you call the office before 9:00, and leave a message. We can stop the delivery for that day and you won’t be charged.
  • If you call after 9:00, your food is already prepared and you will be charged for that meal.

What happens if I am not going to be home and I still want my meal?

  • Maybe you have a doctor’s appointment and won’t be home when we deliver, but you will be home later and still want your meal? We can leave your food in an ice chest or cooler so you can have it when you get home

What happens if I go to the hospital or on vacation?

  • As long as you call us, we can hold your meals. If you are off for a long time, and we have someone waiting for a spot on your delivery route, we may not be able to hold that spot for you indefinitely.

What happens if the weather is bad, do you still deliver?

  • At all times we must keep our volunteers safe.
  • In general, if the school districts in Lawrence County are closed due to weather, we will not deliver.
  • You can watch TV stations WPXI and WKBN. We also leave a message on our phone answering machine.
  • If we cancel all our meals, you will not be charged for that day.
  • If we don’t cancel, but driveways and sidewalks are snowy or icy, our volunteers will make every effort to bring you your food. If the volunteer feels a driveway or sidewalk is risky, they have been told to use their judgement whether or not it is safe to deliver.
  • We understand that may be difficult for you to arrange for your drive and walks to be cleared. If your drive or sidewalk is risky, please call the office to cancel your delivery. If we try to deliver, but its unsafe for the volunteer, you will get charged for the meal we prepared for you.

Can the volunteer help me with other things?

  • The volunteer has agreed to deliver your meals. They are not supposed to help you with home or health care tasks.
  • Please don’t ask the volunteer to relay information to the office. You need to call the office and speak to the coordinator or leave a message on the answering machine.

How do I pay for my food?

  • Credit cards and checks are accepted. No cash. You must pay for a month at a time, and not by week.
  • Checks must be made out to Meals on Wheels. You can mail your check to our PO box, or you can give a check to the volunteer that delivers your food.
  • If you want to pay by credit card, call the office. The Coordinator will take the information from you over the phone. There is a $4 fee to make a payment by credit card; the bank charges us a fee to take credit cards.

When do I have to pay?

  • A new client must pay for their food before we start delivery.
  • New clients must pay for the first 4 weeks; no refunds if you stop your delivery before the first 30 days.
  • You can send us a check, and we will start your delivery when your check clears, or you can call the office and arrange a credit card payment.

When do I pay for my food after that first month?

  • You will get a bill in the first few days of each new month. The bill will be placed in your brown bag meal.
  • Sometimes a family member pays for your food; the bill will be mailed to them instead.
  • You have until the 15th to pay your bill. If you don’t pay your bill, you will get one warning, then delivery will stop.

Can I pay for my meals in advance?

  • Your bill will have the amount you owe for the month just ending, and an estimate for the current month. You can send a check for that estimate, and pay for your food ahead of time.

What happens if I want my meals, but I am having trouble paying my bill?

  • Your meals will stop if you don’t pay your bill.
  • If you are having trouble, please call the office right away. We will work out a plan so you can keep receiving meals.
  • If you are experiencing some type of hardship, we will work with you to try to find a solution.

What happens if I disagree with my bill?

  • Please call the office right away. Mistakes happen on both sides. We can correct your bill if we have made a mistake.
  • It’s important for you to keep a copy of your bill since it lists the dates you paid, the amount you paid, and any dates you called off.

I didn’t receive a meal, but I got charged for one.

  • If we have prepared food for you, and brought the food to your home, you will be charged for that delivery. UPMC will charge us for the food preparation.
  • The reason doesn’t matter, maybe you were in the bathroom, napping, or out for an appointment.
  • If you did not cancel in time, before 9am, and we prepared your meal, you will be charged for that meal.
  • Remember, we can leave your food in an ice chest or cooler, so we recommend you have one available.
  • If you could not get your walks cleared and we can’t deliver safely, you need to cancel. If you did not cancel, but we prepared your food and tried to deliver, you will be charged for that meal.

What happens if I don’t like the food or I no longer want the service?

  • If you do not want to continue Meals on Wheels, contact the office and speak to the Program Coordinator.

Can I get a refund?

  • When you sign up for meals, you commit to one month of deliveries. If you stop before, there is no refund.
  • After that first month, you can get a refund for the meals you paid for in advance.
  • If you called to cancel a delivery, or we cancel due to weather, you will get a credit on your statement.

Where are we located?

  • The Meals on Wheels of New Castle office is housed at UPMC Jameson Place. We moved to this location March 2017.
  • You may visit us there during office hours, but most of your business can be handled over the phone.
  • We use a PO Box for all our mail.

What kind of privacy can I expect?

  • The volunteers who deliver your food are concerned about your well-being. You can tell them as much or as little as you want about yourself.
  • You will need to give the Program Coordinator a little bit of information about your health needs to make sure we give you the right kind of food. The Program Coordinator will disclose only the most important information to the volunteers or dietary staff.
  • At times we may be worried about you. Maybe you seem shaky, or unwell. Maybe you don’t come to the door and your mail has piled up. The volunteer may call the Program Coordinator, and then we may call a family member or 911. Sometimes we may call another community agency to try to get you the help you need.

HELP OUR PETS

  • From time to time, Meals on Wheels has grant money to help their clients obtain cat or dog food.
  • If you are having trouble going shopping for pet food, or having trouble affording pet food, we may be able to help you.
  • Call the office for information.

Who do I call with questions?

  • Call the Program Coordinator, Anne. The MOW office is only open part time since the Program Coordinator works part time.
  • Even though we deliver on Fridays, the office is not open on Friday. The office is usually open Monday through Thursday, approximately 9:30-1:30. That schedule may change, and sometimes we get busy and can’t get to the phone.
  • You can leave a message on our phone, 724-654-6155.
  • Phone messages are checked each morning, Monday-Friday, before 9am. Phone calls will be returned the next business day, or as soon as possible. Calls are not returned over the weekend.
  • We don’t have long distance; if you call from outside the (724) area code, you will have to call us back.

Can I send an email?

Is there anyone else I should talk to?

  • If you have questions about the food, you could call our dietary support, Erica. Call the UPMC/Jameson Care Place phone number and ask for the kitchen. 724-598-3300.

Liability

  • Our volunteers make a good faith effort to safely deliver your food. Neither Meals on Wheels, UPMC, nor our volunteers are liable for accidental damage or incident.