Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services: Far East Contra Costa Service Expansion

Research has shown that the social determinants of health – a wide array of psychosocial and environmental influences – are a significant factor in anyone’s health and wellbeing. Moreover, a series of community health needs assessments have made clear that Far East Contra Costa County (Brentwood, Oakley and small, unincorporated communities in the area) has an inadequate supply of the types of social support services designed to address those social determinants of health, especially for low-income older adults.

Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services (MOWSOS) has long been a respected provider of such services in Contra Costa County, providing everything from home delivered meals and case management to friendly visitors and transportation assistance. That’s why in December 2016, the John Muir/Mt. Diablo Community Health Fund (CHF) awarded MOWSOS a $160,000 annual program support grant to develop an action plan for expanding and deepening the organization’s impact and outreach with low-income older adults in Far East Contra Costa County. In 2017, MOWSOS:

  • Built and deepened relationships with local stakeholder groups
  • Implemented a needs assessment to identify service gaps
  • Hired a full-time, bilingual manager for Far East Contra Costa; the MOWSOS board has made good on its commitment to make this into a sustainable, fulltime position
  • Developed sustainable MOWSOS wraparound services for low income older adults residing in the cities of Brentwood and Oakley
  • Developed formal partnerships with:

For 2018, the CHF has awarded MOWSOS $150,000 to further implement its Far East Contra Costa County expansion plan. Expected outcomes include:

  • Hiring of a part-time Community Outreach Specialist, which the organization has committed to maintaining after CHF funding has expired
  • Designation of a portion of the MOWSOS’ Volunteer Coordinator’s time to recruit East Contra Costa County volunteers
  • Expansion of outreach and education activities in Brentwood and Oakley
  • Establishing services in an outlying community – likely Bethel Island
  • Transitioning from temporary office space at the Oakley Chamber of Commerce to the Oakley Senior Center
  • Continued growth in the East Contra Costa County Senior Services Collaborative