Meals on Wheels of Ocean County continues to provide vital support to seniors amid growing demand

The charitable organization looks back on its partnership with Causeway CARes as it strives to offer vital nutrition, comfort and assistance to nearly 4,000 Ocean County seniors.

STAFFORD TOWNSHIP, NJ – Meals on Wheels of Ocean County, funded in part by a generous grant from the Ocean County Board of Commissioners, remains committed to its mission of ensuring seniors lead happy, healthy and meaningful lives. Through an introspective lens, the charitable organization also recognizes its longstanding partnership with Causeway CARes.

“With over 40 years of experience, the organization has become one of New Jersey’s largest and most efficient providers of senior support services,” said James Sigurdson, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels of Ocean County. “This is due in part to our strategic alliance and support from Causeway CARes and Causeway Family of Dealerships.”

Meals on Wheels was a previous recipient of Causeway’s generous 50th Anniversary grant. Through this partnership, Causeway to acquired more than a dozen delivery vehicles at reduced values. These vehicles were then donated to local non-profit organizations to continue serving the community needs of Ocean County.

“The bond between Meals on Wheels and Causeway is rooted in a shared commitment to the well-being of the community,” said David Wintrode, President of Causeway Family of Dealerships/Causeway CARes. “The dedicated service department at Causeway continues to demonstrate unwavering commitment to keeping the Meals on Wheels delivery fleet in optimal condition, ready and able to deliver essential meals to those in need.”

“Causeway’s support has significantly expanded Meals on Wheels’ delivery fleet, ensuring that seniors receive their much-needed meals and socialization,” said Sigurdson. “Their contribution has played a crucial role in expanding our capacity to serve the community.”

Through its various programs, including Meals on Wheels, Community Cafe, and Outreach Services, Meals on Wheels continues to offer vital nutrition, comfort, and assistance to nearly 4,000 Ocean County seniors.

Emphasizing the importance of home as a place of comfort and cherished memories, Meals on Wheels recognizes the significance of seniors’ personal environments.

“From family photographs to treasured keepsakes, these elements provide context and emotional significance to their lives, which cannot be replaced by hospital or assisted living facilities,” said Heather DeJong, Community Relations Specialist for Meals on Wheels of Ocean County. “With a passionate belief in keeping seniors in their homes, Meals on Wheels ensures they receive the necessary support to thrive.”

By the numbers, Meals on Wheels delivers over 240,000 meals per year to more than 1,600 Ocean County seniors. The dedicated drivers of Meals on Wheels travel the equivalent of around the globe 11 times annually to ensure timely meal deliveries. The cost of preparing and delivering each hot, nutritious Home Delivered Meal has risen from $10 to $15 per meal to procure, prepare and deliver. This reflects an overall increase of 40.5 percent since the global pandemic.

“Despite these challenges, Meals on Wheels has not missed a single day of meal delivery, demonstrating its unwavering commitment to seniors in need,” said DeJong.

Addressing the growing demand for its services, Meals on Wheels has consolidated its operations into the Stafford location. Efforts are underway to establish and relaunch the Community Cafe to further support seniors in a social setting. However, supply chain issues persist, and the organization remains dedicated to overcoming these obstacles to continue its mission.

The PUTT (Pick Up The Tab) program is a critical lifeline toward health and independence for the aging community in Ocean County. With 39% of Ocean County seniors unable to afford the nominal $2 per meal donation, gifts made toward this program go directly to Pick Up The Tab for these seniors (meals are delivered regardless of donation). A $10 gift covers one week of meals for an Ocean County senior. For as little as $520, meals will be covered for a full year for one individual. Please consider making a donation to the PUTT program!

Meals on Wheels is deeply grateful for the support it has received from various foundations and organizations. The Hirair and Anna Hovnanian Family Foundation, the Grunin Foundation, and Causeway CARes (among many others) have provided funds to ensure the availability of shelf-stable meals. The United Way has also played a vital role in supplying hygienic items for seniors, further addressing their needs beyond meals.

“Our mission has not changed, and our focus on serving our clientele remains steadfast,” said Sigurdson. “What has changed is the growing number of seniors in Ocean County. “Looking ahead, the organization anticipates the demand to either remain constant or increase due to the aging population in the county.”

With limited resources and as a charitable organization, Meals on Wheels relies on the generosity of its supporters. Addressing social, economic and nutritional needs, the organization continues to foster and maintain strong relationships within the community. By uniting individuals who share a passion for serving people, Meals on Wheels is poised for success in its mission.

For more information about Meals on Wheels of Ocean County and its services, please contact 609-978-6868 or email

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