Food crisis, demand spur Meals on Wheels’ growth in Grandville

Kent County

GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Meals on Wheels Western Michigan is expanding in Grandville to keep up with rising demand and a growing older population.

The organization says it is taking over nearly 15,000 square feet of additional space within its building on Wilson Avenue between Chicago Drive and 28th Street SW. The industrial space, which was once home to Ottawa Kent Precious Metals, gives Meals on Wheels Western Michigan 75% more working capacity.

“Our vision is to have a community where no senior is hungry or forgotten and this space will help us do that,” Meals on Wheels Western Michigan CEO Lisa Wideman stated in a Monday news release.

The nonprofit group says the extra space “is instrumental” in ensuring no senior in Kent or Allegan County ends up on a waiting list for meals.

“The senior population is growing very fast and the food crisis that resulted from COVID showed us that we need to be ready for even larger numbers of hungry people than anyone expected,” Wideman said.

(An undated courtesy photo shows a Meals on Wheels Western Michigan volunteer handing a bag of food to a senior.)

Wideman said at one point, the pandemic-prompted food crisis drove up meal service demand by 35%.

Meals on Wheels bought the building where it is housed in 2019, taking over leasing contracts for Changing Thymes, the Grandville Banquet Center and Ottawa Kent Precious Metals.

The organization says it has grown from serving 5,600 seniors in 2015 to feeding more than 7,000 older adults last year through its meal and pantry services.

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