These Poignant Ads Show Why You Should Be Doing Lunch With American Seniors

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Who are the faces of Meals on Wheels? 

For its first national integrated campaign, created by Anomaly and supported by the Ad Council, Meals on Wheels is seeking volunteers to serve the elderly population in the U.S. The commitment isn’t big, and they’re not asking for mone. What they want is your lunch hour. 

“America, Let’s Do Lunch” puts a warm and upbeat spotlight on the people who benefit from Meals on Wheels. You’ll meet a retired school psychologist with a contagious laugh, a woman who surrounds herself with flowers, a couple who’ve knitted their wedding photo onto a pillowcase, and more. 

The anchoring ad, which kicks off the campaign and introduces the characters, concludes, “One in six seniors face the threat of hunger, and millions more live in isolation. So drop off a hot meal and say a quick hello.” 

The U.S. senior population is expected to double by 2050. And while they’re staying healthier longer, and living longer too, these ads deftly demonstrate that life’s packed with curveballs you don’t expect—like strokes or broken hips. (We often forget that, at some point, we all become less able to varying degrees.) 

Perhaps most stunning is the isolation in which many of Meals on Wheels clients live. They are depicted as happy, independent adults who live full lives—but much of that happiness is tied to the safety, comfort and inclusion they feel. The program isn’t just about delivering balanced meals; it’s about coming to the door, chatting awhile, and reminding your recipients that they’re part of a greater whole. 

As one client so nicely put it, “Having someone check on me assures me that I’m not forgotten.” What you’re being asked for isn’t just an hour of your time; it’s company and a fruitful exchange. 

“We want, and need, people to volunteer, not because they feel guilted into doing it but because they see it as a truly rewarding opportunity to spend a little time with some amazing people,” says Anomaly CEO and founding partner Carl Johnson. “Frankly, the exact same reason we took on the assignment.” 

The campaign launches today on TV, radio, print, out-of-home and digital. We Are Social is organizing an influencer push that includes stars like Baddie Winkle (“who’s huge on Snapchat,” the Ad Council says), YouTube creator Meghan Camarena, Padma Lakshmi, Bill Walton, Richard Gere and Fred Savage. Photo agency VII Photo will take portraits of Meals on Wheels seniors across the country, and Upworthy will highlight senior stories. You can also expect to see mobile ad experiences on Pandora. 

Check out the 30-second portrait ads below. It’s only a small glimpse of the stories and lessons we could glean from spending more time with people who’ve already seen the cycle of civilization do one or two full revolutions.

And if you’re down to donate some lunchtime, visit America, Let’s Do Lunch.

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