In the early 1970s, two women, Norma Lewis and Verla Olson, identified a need for hot food for homebound and elderly members of the Moscow community. In 1971, the Moscow Meals-on-Wheels program was organized to deliver meals to those who needed a little extra assistance. Moscow Meals-on-Wheels delivered hot noon meals and evening sandwiches to those who had trouble cooking for themselves. The meals were prepared by cooks at the Latah Convalescent Center and delivered by Meals-on-Wheels volunteers. Menus were created by dietitians to ensure recipients were receiving the nutrition they needed. There was a fee for each meal, in 1972 it was $1.25; by their 25th anniversary in 1995 the cost per meal had grown to $4.10.
The Meals-on-Wheels model was originally developed in England after World War II and was brought to the United States in the 1950s by Clarence Toy. Though there is a nationwide Meals-on-Wheels program, the Moscow program remained independent over the years. The organization wanted to remain dependent on the support of local donors and volunteers, rather than have their budget and situation dependent on a nationally determined budget. They felt this was the best way they could serve their community.
The program had dozens of volunteers each week to ensure meals were delivered. In the winter months, when weather was questionable they had a specific set of drivers deemed the “Eskimo Squad” who had 4 wheel drive. Many of the founding members and volunteers stayed with the organization for decades because of the importance of their organization.