WHO WE ARE
Smoky Mountain Meals on Wheels, formerly known as Blount County Meals on Wheels/Senior Nutrition, is a program of the Blount County Community Action Agency and proudly serves the senior population in Blount County. Lying in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, our area includes Townsend, Happy Valley, Walland, Seymour, Tallassee, Maryville, Alcoa, Louisville, Friendsville, Rockford and Greenback.
Blount County is steeped in history and is the home of many families relocated due to the development of the Smoky Mountains National Park, including the Cades Cove area. We currently serve over 500 seniors with our 200+ dedicated volunteers traveling over our area’s 567 square miles of mountain, foothill and country roads to deliver so much more than just a meal.
Our history dates back to our start in 1972. Since the year 2000, we’ve operated out of an old elementary school and have made adaptations. In 2013, we were serving an average of 125 people a day. The growing needs of our seniors led us to develop and introduce a new business model, designed in-house, entitled RAMP (Rural Area Meal Program). RAMP targets an individual’s need and addresses the root cause of the personal food shortage. Many seniors are still able to prepare meals but have a hard time getting to or affording the food.
With RAMP, we now deliver bags of staple groceries with thanks to the Community Food Connection in Alcoa, TN. They, along with Feeding America, Second Harvest and Blount County United Way provide over 200 bags monthly to be delivered.
The next level of service is a weekly delivery which consists of 1 hot and 4 frozen homemade lunches. This level is for a senior who can still store food properly, operate a microwave or oven and be able to choose when & what to eat.
The highest level of service in RAMP is a daily delivery where each client receives a hot meal delivered at lunch time.
RAMP was designed because Smoky Mountain Meals on Wheels, like every nutrition program across the nation, is struggling to keep up with demand. By adding new partners, new levels of service and additional streams of revenue, we were able to increase our outreach and service by 380%.
We have grown from serving lunch to 125 individuals to an astounding 500+ units daily. Currently, our projection for the end of 2015 is to be serving 720 seniors! Our hope is we can keep up with demand in our limited facility. No one in America should go to bed hungry.
Our AniMeals on Wheels program was formed in 2014 out of necessity. Many seniors struggle to care for their loved pets whether it is due to finances or accessibility of for and/or veterinarian services. Many were discovered to be sharing their meals with their furry friends. The obvious benefits of a relationship with their pets affects the wellbeing of the seniors and pets and directly correlates with the mission of Meals On Wheels.
We converted an old shed on the property of Smoky Mountain Meals on Wheels to be the home of AniMeals. With the addition of a solar attic fan and lights and some fresh paint and trim, we now have the largest dog house in the Smoky Mountains! On average, about 1,500 pounds of dog and cat food are being delivered to our seniors on a monthly basis. A grant from Banfield Charitable Trust along with donations from the community allow us to provide both food and limited vet care. In September 2015, we secured a local veterinarian to make house calls to provide rabies vaccines, trim nails and to check on the overall well-being of our clients’ pets. AniMeals will be scheduling annual visits to see those pets which would otherwise not receive any medical care.
AniMeals is a volunteer based program and relies on community support, grants and donations to operate.
OUR STAFF AND BOARD MEMBERS
Our Great Staff
Community Action Agencies are designed to operate with a small staff and a large community base of volunteers. Blount County does a fantastic job getting involved to make these services happen. Behind the scenes but not forgotten are the hard working staff of the Senior Nutrition Program.
Lynnda Manville- Sr.Nutrition Program Director – 865-983-8411 Ext. 27
April Jones - Office Assistant - 865-983-8411 Ext. 61
Mike Mullis - Routing & Logistics
Jennifer Dove- Kitchen Manager
Candice Adams- Asst Cook
Charlotte Douglas- Kitchen Prep
Our Great Board Members
Melanie Davis, Chair of the Board
Tom Eustis, Treasurer of the Board
Ed Mitchell, Mayor of Blount County
Art Swann, Tennessee State Representative
Bob Ramsey, Tennessee State Representative
Bill Brewer, Judge
Executive Director of the Blount County Community Action Agency (BCCAA)
We work in partnership with local agencies such as the Community Food Connection of Blount County, Second Harvest, United Way of Blount County, local farmers, and Feeding America to provide food to not only the participants of the Smoky Mountain Meals on Wheels program, but also to individuals being served under other programs within our agency, those referred to us by other agencies who serve the low-income/disabled with Blount County and/or those with food insecurities who come into our office.
Our participation with these partners varies. At Community Food Connection, we pick up groceries twice a month to help supplement our RAMP participants with staple groceries. These clients are unable to get to the grocery store, have a limited income, etc.
We order raw food from Second Harvest weekly. This enables us to purchase food at a reduced rate, thus allowing us to serve more clients with the same amount of funding.
Feeding America delivers donated items from local grocers and farms. This allows us to reach out to those with food insecurities, whether they are a client of ours, another program within our agency and/or referred here by another agency.
The caring residents and business people of Blount County, through their generous donations, have allowed us to place emergency meals in the homes of any seniors with Blount County facing a personal food shortage, especially during inclement weather. Last year we made and distributed over 2,500 emergency meals.