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Since its inception, the Iowa West Foundation's grant program has awarded more than $300 million to improve the quality of life in our region. These stories highlight some of these grants and show the impact they make on our community.

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Without Meals on Wheels, Council Bluffs Resident Would Go Hungry

October 27, 2016

Every morning without fail, Jeannie Grim-Ford wakes up and makes two lists. Both are “to-do” lists, however, one is a “have to” and the other is a “want to.” For the Council Bluffs resident who prefers the term “recycled teenager” to “senior citizen,” energy is finite.

So dishes “have to” get done, along with clearing the kitchen table and some light dusting. If she’s feeling up to it, the mother of five and grandmother of 13 will gather some yarn and her hook and crochet the day away.

Grim-Ford can’t be on her feet for a prolonged period of time, which means she often doesn’t cook for herself. Even if she could, the numerous medications she takes on a daily basis would make it difficult to afford groceries. Thankfully, the former teacher is one of more than 200 recipients of Connections Area Agency on Aging, “Meals on Wheels” program.

Earlier this year, the Iowa West Foundation, awarded a $70,000 grant to ensure homebound seniors in Pottawattamie County could continue or begin to receive “Meals on Wheels.” The program had been experiencing a funding shortfall causing food-insecure individuals to be placed on a waiting list. The grant funded a total of 36,348 hot and frozen, nutritionally-balanced meals.

“I couldn’t live without them,” Grim-Ford said. “If I didn’t have the (Meals on Wheels) group knocking on my door handing out meals, I’d go without.”

With her children scattered across the country, Grim-Ford has few relatives in the area but she doesn’t lament that fact. A big proponent of education, she encouraged her children to pursue college degrees from universities that specialized in the fields they sought to enter. Her children call frequently, and she sends them all birthday cards with a handwritten note.

A 55’ graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School, Grim-Ford went to college in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and taught elementary school in Woodbine for several years. She gives “Meals on Wheels” high marks.

“I give them an ‘A’ for service, an ‘A’ for food and ‘A’ for friendliness,” she said.

Barb Morrison, President and CEO of Connections Area Agency on Aging, is grateful to be able to provide the service.

“The program is so important to keeping our older residents independent, healthy, and thriving in the environment of their choice. The funding from the Iowa West Foundation has allowed us to continue to serve all of the individuals who meet our criteria and are in need of a meal,” she said.

For more information on Meals on Wheels, or how to become a volunteer driver with the program, visit or contact the Connections office at 712-328-2540.

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