Paper Type

Master's Thesis


Brooks College of Health

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition & Dietetics

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Nutrition & Dietetics

First Advisor

Dr. Jenifer Ross

Second Advisor

Dr. Lauri Wright

Third Advisor

Dr. James Epps

Department Chair

Dr. Lauri Wright


For many senior citizens, meeting nutritional needs is essential to good health and daily function. Studies indicate that many American older adults are not meeting their nutrition needs and often suffer from food insecurity. Meals on Wings (MOW) is a food recovery-meal delivery program that attempts to decrease the influence of food insecurity among older adults. This study aims to explore the self-perceived impact of a food recovery-meal delivery program on homebound seniors’ nutrition health, food security, and well-being.

Semi-structured interviews were administered to adults age 55 and older on the waitlist for Meals on Wheels America in Duval County who received meals for three months or longer from MOW (n=10). Themes related to food security, nutrition health, and well-being were identified using inductive thematic analysis based on participants’ responses.

Ten major themes were revealed: 1) healthier eating, 2) balanced meals meet needs, 3) feel happier and/or worry less, 4) decreased feelings of isolation and loneliness, 5) food always available, 6) worry less about food running out, 7) food and SNAP benefits last longer, 8) less need for food pantries and/or food assistance programs, 9) more money available, and 10) coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic makes it harder to leave home to buy food and meet nutrition needs. All the participants reported that receiving meals help them worry less or feel happier, make the food they buy last longer, and help them pay for other things including medications, rent or utilities. It was discovered that factors including transportation, physical capability, economic burdens, and awareness of community resources available may impact access to food.

Homebound senior adults perceive that food recovery-meal delivery programs may improve their nutrition health, food security, and well-being to some degree. The food recovery-meal delivery model can be considered a solution to hunger in homebound seniors in the future.