WEST PALM BEACH — The Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches has recently expanded its food delivery service into the Lake Worth area.

Seniors who are homebound in Lake Worth can get their meals delivered, thanks to a $70,000 grant from the Quantum Foundation, a private foundation based in West Palm Beach that funds projects that tackle basic needs of residents like food, clothing, shelter and transport. And now the foundation is calling for new grant applications to be submitted by the end of July.

Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches Executive Director Charles Ring said the organization recognizes a need in Lake Worth and parts of Riviera Beach for more meal service.

“We’re also starting to move into parts of Riviera Beach and other key areas where there is a high percentage of aged and homebound seniors. These people are often hidden away because they have limited mobility. Most can’t drive or cook safely anymore. We don’t want them to be forgotten. Often Meals on Wheels is a lifeline for these seniors. Our volunteers represent their food, and often their only companionship or human connection for the day. It’s very gratifying work and Quantum Foundation’s grant will help us do more of it.”

Founded in 2010, Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches (MOWPB) has focused on reducing the number of malnourished and food insecure seniors in the county. According to the Health Consequences of Senior Hunger in the United States study, food insecure seniors are 50 percent more likely to be diabetic, twice as likely to report fair or poor general health, three times more likely to suffer from depression, and nearly 14 percent have high blood pressure.

Before the grant, MOWPB served the West Palm Beach area, delivering more than 13,000 meals in 2013. Now the organization plans to deliver 4,000 more to seniors in Lake Worth.

Ring said volunteers are a critical key to the program’s success and that the office needs new volunteers to assist with the expanded programming.

“You can join our fight against senior hunger by giving just an hour and a half of your time once a week or once a month, alone or with a group,” said Ring. “Dedicated and caring volunteers can help by packaging and assembling meals in the kitchen or by delivering hot nutritious meals to seniors who no longer have the mobility to leave their homes or cook for themselves.”

Applications are open for small, grassroots nonprofits in Palm Beach County to receive their share of $750,000 from Quantum. The new grants are limited to $25,000. Registered 501(C)3s, operating in Palm Beach County for at least 6 months, with an operating budget of less than $500,000 that provide basic needs like food, clothing, shelter and transport to the county’s most vulnerable residents are encouraged to apply by July 31.

Quantum Foundation’s President Eric M. Kelly explained that health means different things to different people, but that eating right is fundamental.

“We clearly acknowledge that without meeting people’s basic needs, it’s impossible for them to be healthy, Quantum Foundation’s President Eric M. Kelly said. “Good nutrition, health education, exercise – all these are the building blocks of good health and assisting our senior with the most basic need of wholesome food is the motivation behind the Meals on Wheels grant.”

ON THE NET: quantumfnd.org/quantum-in-the-community