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WESTFIELD, NJ — Over the past 55 years, Mobile Meals of Westfield has cooked more than 1 million meals in the basement kitchen of a church to help those in need in Union County. And the non-profit organization is continuing to feed the community.

“Mobile Meals started in 1968 in an effort to assist those who can’t shop or cook for themselves, and perhaps don’t qualify for the national Meals on Wheels program, but would like to age in place, staying in their homes,” said President of Mobile Meals of Westfield Ruth Maloney.

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There are no qualifying factors, so Mobile Meals helps those who need food, but aren’t able to acquire it from federally funded programs.

Clients pay a subsidized fee to allow the 501(c)3 organization to remain low-cost. Mobile Meals also relies on grants and donations to continue their work.

They are made up of a volunteer staff of 150 people and a paid staff of only three including a part-time Director and Chef who design the menus, order supplies and cook the food every morning, Monday through Friday.

“All of our meals are low salt and balanced nutritionally so our clients receive a hot, delicious and healthy meal,” said Maloney.

The volunteers then pack the food into coolers for volunteer drivers to deliver the meals to clients’ homes.

Maloney first got involved in the 1990s through the Westfield Welcome Club. She had signed up to drive a route every Wednesday.

“When my children were young, they would accompany me and that taught them the importance of helping others. I have been driving for almost 25 years now and still enjoy chatting with my clients on Westfield Route 3,” said Maloney.

Mobile Meals doesn’t just feed clients but Maloney said they also check in with their clients to ensure their wellness.

“This is particularly helpful to family members, knowing their loved ones are being looked in on,” said Maloney.

Maloney joined the Board of Directors in late 2017 and stepped up to President in January 2018, as their longtime leader had to resign for health reasons.

Over the past five and a half years, many improvements have been made include an updated website, where people can learn about their service, sign up for it, make donations and volunteer.

They have developed a social media presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and are on LinkedIn.

They also have a publicity Chair who provides regular press releases regarding donations and produces videos for promotional purposes.

“We have a wonderful cast of volunteers who make the magic happen, including 12 dedicated Board members,” said Maloney. “We have the capacity for additional clients so the greatest assistance we could use right now is for folks to get the word out that we are here to help anyone who would like a fresh cooked hot meal delivered.”

Mobile Meals serves seven communities: Westfield, Cranford, Scotch Plains, Mountainside, Garwood, Fanwood, and Clark.

“Our goal remains providing healthy meals and daily caring contact via our drivers for anyone in need,” said Maloney.

For those looking to help, Maloney said Mobile Meals is primarily funded by the Westfield United Fund, so donations to them or directly to Mobile Meals are always welcome.

Fundraisers are also held to raise money. The next one is Sept. 6 at Chipotle in Clark where a percentage of sales will be given to Mobile Meals. The theme is “Eat Out for Those Who Can’t.”

“We are small, but consistent in our mission to serve those who may be food insecure or just need assistance acquiring healthy meals, including smiling daily contact,” said Maloney.

For more information visit mobilemealsofwestfield.org or call 908-233-6146 or facebook.com/MobileMealsofWestfield or instagram.com/mobilemealsofwestfieldnj.

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