Meals on Wheels of the Salinas Valley is celebrating 50 years of providing services to seniors living throughout the Salinas Valley. An anniversary celebration is planned for Thursday, Oct. 6. (Contributed)

SALINAS VALLEY — The year 2022 marks a milestone for Meals on Wheels of the Salinas Valley, which is celebrating 50 years of providing services to seniors living throughout the Salinas Valley.

In honor of this achievement, Meals on Wheels will host a 50th Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser on Thursday, Oct. 6, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Portobello’s on Main, 150 Main St., in Salinas.

A limited number of tickets is available for the event, which includes a commemorative wine glass, heavy appetizers, wine, beverages and dessert. Go to for ticket availability.

“As we come together to celebrate this milestone of serving seniors in Salinas Valley for 50 years, we acknowledge the past 50 years and look to the future to assure that the organization continues its mission for the next 50 years,” said Regina Gage, executive director of Meals on Wheels of the Salinas Valley (MOWSV). “I would like to thank our staff, board, volunteers, donors and generous sponsors who support our vision and allow our organization to stay relevant and a partner in the community.” 

MOWSV delivers fresh, locally sourced and prepared frozen meals every week to homebound seniors age 60-plus in the city of Salinas and rural communities in North and South Monterey County. 

History of Meals on Wheels

The first American home-delivered meal program began in Philadelphia in January 1954. In 1965, Congress passed the Older Americans Act and began the federal program of congregate and home-delivered meals.

Then, in 1972, the Nutrition Program for the Elderly Act was passed, authorizing funding for a permanent national nutrition services program for the elderly. That same year a group of volunteers established a meals program for senior citizens in Salinas, becoming a service of the Volunteer Bureau.

According to Gage, the first meals were delivered to the homes of 12 clients.

“The program grew and became a separate organization in 1985, when we incorporated as Meals on Wheels of Salinas Inc., a nonprofit agency,” Gage explained.

In 1994, the program expanded and started delivering meals in the rural areas of the Salinas Valley. Four years later, in 1998, the name was changed to Meals on Wheels of the Salinas Valley Inc. to reflect its expanded service area.

“We are proud that MOWSV has never had a waiting list for our meal delivery service,” Gage said. “We continue to serve every senior in our community who needs food.”

Starting in 2021, MOWSV launched congregate meal programs at locations throughout North and South Monterey County called SOCOS (SOuth COunty Senior) Socials and NOCOS (NOrth COunty Senior) Socials.

The luncheons provide an opportunity for local seniors age 60 and up, who are impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, to interact while enjoying a free lunch and entertainment, along with receiving information on local resources in a safe and festive environment.

These five “social hours” are being held monthly throughout Monterey County: on the first Thursday of the month in King City; on the second Tuesday of the month in Soledad; on the second Wednesday of the month in Greenfield; on the third Thursday of the month in Gonzales; and on the fourth Wednesday of the month in Castroville.

For more information about the meal service and programs, visit

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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