(Oxford English Dictgionary)
meals on wheels, n.
1. Meals delivered in a car, van, etc.; (now chiefly) a service providing such meals for housebound people, invalids, etc. Also in extended use.
1926 Restaurateur 31 July 6/1 All she has to do is to telephone to Mary's Meals on Wheels, headquarters in the Fulham Road, and a hot three or four-course dinner will be waiting on her doorstep whenever she wants it.
1937 L. WILSON & O. HOOVER (title) Meals on wheels; a cook book for trailers and kitchenettes.
1944 Spice Mill Oct. 33 (caption) Here come Meals on Wheels..and Hot Coffee, Too! 1961 Times 17 Jan. 7/1 Of those who get meals-on-wheels, less than 10 per cent have adequate meals on week days when there is no delivery.
1976 'W. TREVOR' Children of Dynmouth v. 100 Mrs Abigail took round Meals on Wheels with Miss Poraway as her assistant, or runner, as the title officially was.
1997 Community Care 17 July 7/3 Councils found cash payments easier and cheaper to administer than the alternative of food vouchers or meals-on-wheels.
2. attrib. (usu. with hyphen).
1926 Restaurateur 31 July 6/1 (headline), 'Meals on Wheels' Dinners Delivered.
1961 Guardian 19 Apr. 2/5 The need for an extension of the meals-on-wheels schemes as a contribution to the care of the home~bound.
1970 J. FLEMING Young Man, I think you're Dying ii. 25 On weekday mornings the meals-on-wheels service would bring hot food for the invalid.
1997 J. RYAN Dismantling Mr Doyle x. 128 She had become the mainstay of the west city meals-on-wheels stations with fifty-one regulars on the books.
April 1949, The Diner, pg. 14, col. 1:
Quick Lunch Artists
Meals-on-Wheels gets foods to formerly inaccessible places and opens new vistas for service.
"Meals-on-Wheels," a roadside eating service that can be operated as the auxiliary of quality diners and counter restaurants, is now ready for nation-wide expansion after a two-year trial in Westchester County, New York, and southern Connecticut.
The service, offered from specially designed coaches, is the brainchild of Laurence I. Graham
Citymeals-on-Wheels -- What We Do
In 1981, Gael Greene and James Beard founded Citymeals-on-Wheels by raising private funds to supplement the government-funded weekday meal delivery program. Citymeals now funds 120 community-based agencies that bring weekend, holiday, emergency, and weekday meals to homebound elderly New Yorkers who can no longer shop or cook for themselves.
In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2003, Citymeals funded the preparation and delivery of over 2 million meals to more than 17,000 homebound elderly New Yorkers.
In addition to funding weekend, holiday, and emergency meals, Citymeals also underwrites weekday meals for 1,200 homebound elderly who were formerly on waiting lists for home-delivered meals.
City Harvest -- History
City Harvest is the product of common sense. In 1981 Helen verDuin Palit, a soup kitchen worker, noticed that neighboring restaurants were wasting good food every day. Seeing an opportunity to bolster the food supply at the soup kitchen, she gathered volunteers and borrowed cars and vans to transport the food from where it was not needed to where it was needed very much. And City Harvest was born.
City Harvest has distributed more than 100 million pounds of food to a network of more than 800 emergency food programs throughout New York City. The organization now delivers an average of 53,000 pounds of food daily — 19.5 million pounds this year.
But City Harvest's common-sense, cost-effective approach remains unchanged, because by working efficiently we can help the greatest number of people possible. Picking up and delivering food the same day keeps costs down. Currently, our cost to deliver a pound of food is just 26 cents, making City Harvest a smart, simple solution to ending hunger in New York City.