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European Journal of Operational Research


Non-profit organizations like the Meals on Wheels (MOW) association of America prepare and deliver meals, typically daily, to approximately one million homebound citizens in the United States alone. However, many MOW agencies are facing a steadily increasing number of clients requesting meal service without an increase in resources (either financial or human). One strategy for accommodating these requests is to deliver multiple (frozen) meals at a time and thus make fewer delivers. However, many of the stakeholders (funders, volunteers, meal recipients) value the relationships that are developed by having a client receive daily deliveries from the same volunteer. Further, meal recipients may be concerned with the quality of the food delivered through a frozen meal. In this paper, we develop a method for introducing consolidation into home meal delivery while minimizing operational disruptions and maintaining client satisfaction. With an extensive computational study, the savings associated with various levels and types of disruptions are detailed.


Submitted to European Journal of Operational Research.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.