“In the beginning, it was just us and a few pots of stew. But the response was tremendous, and it became impossible to ignore the great need in the community. Over the years it became so much more than plates of food; it became friendship, family and nourishment for the soul.” — Sister Alice Marie
Sister Alice Marie Quinn, Daughter of Charity and Registered Dietitian, is the founder and program director of St. Vincent Meals on Wheels. Under her leadership, St. Vincent Meals on Wheels has become the largest Meals on Wheels program in America. She’s past president of the Meals on Wheels Association of America. Sister received her Bachelor of Science degree from St. Mary’s Dominican College in New Orleans.
Immediately prior to founding St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, Sister worked with the St. Vincent Medical Center as assistant director of its dietary department. She found that many poor and elderly people who lived in apartments near the hospital didn’t eat properly or regularly. And she noticed that their physical and mental well-being suffered as a result.
So Sister, determined to make a difference, made a pot of stew one evening in 1977 for 83 seniors at a local church hall. That single selfless act led to the St. Vincent Senior Citizen Nutrition Program, which after serving 100 meal clients each day, expanded into St. Vincent Meals on Wheels.
Today St. Vincent Meals on Wheels prepares and delivers over 4,000 meals each day, which includes hot meals, frozen meals and breakfast deliveries (on a weekly basis) across Los Angeles. Sister Alice Marie oversees an experienced staff of 78, plus over 300 volunteers who cook and deliver meals for clients six days a week. Sister infuses St. Vincent Meals on Wheels with a spirit of generosity through her compassion, leadership and wisdom. Sister cares not only about what clients eat, but also about how they feel and their overall comfort and dignity. Her drivers and meal-runners follow her compassionate example.
Sister’s many notable accolades include:
- Awarded the MedAssets Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2006
- Recipient of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) Silver Plate Award in 2006, for outstanding achievement in Specialty Food Services
- 2013 Los Angeles City Council declared the day before Thanksgiving as St. Vincent Meals on Wheels Day in L.A.
- Recipient of the Susan B. Anthony Award 2014
- Named “Irish Woman of the Year” in 2005 by the City of Los Angeles
- Named “Outstanding Professional for the Year” at National Philanthropy Day in Los Angeles, 1992
- Named “Humanitarian of the Year” by the City of Hope in 1991
- Recipient of the Don Perkins Award of the Public Relations Society of America, Los Angeles Chapter, for outstanding community service in 1991
- Named “Woman of the Year” in 1988 by the State of California
- Cited for her “devotion to serving those in need” in the Congressional Record dated January 23, 1984 by the House of Representatives
In addition to leading St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, Sister serves on several boards of directors, and volunteers for various charitable organizations.
For more than 50 years, Sister has relied on her faith and a healthy dose of drive and determination, to serve our neighbors in need. But Sister remains humble and dedicated to her mission. She’s quick to point out, “I am only helping to deliver what God provides. Fortunately, many volunteers and donors are also helping. Without their support, we would not have this program.”