During the 1939 German Blitz, many people in Britain lost their homes and, subsequently, their ability to cook meals for themselves. The Meals on Wheels Association of America Web site further recounts:
The Women's Volunteer Service for Civil Defense responded to this emergency by preparing and delivering meals to their disadvantaged neighbors. These women also brought refreshments in canteens to servicemen during World War II. The canteens came to be known as "Meals on Wheels." Thus, the first organized nutrition program was born.
After the war, Americans adopted the home-delivered meal concept, with the first program begun in Philadelphia in 1954. Today, Meals on Wheels exists throughout the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, and elsewhere, including Japan. This “Voices from the Past” re-discovers the origins of this well-known, volunteer-intensive social service.