By Teresa Jagodzinski
“It’s one of the best programs started in Winsted,” commented Leonard Rozeske.
Started in Winsted July 1, 1997, by Dick Genty, the senior citizens dining program continues to serve healthy meals to senior citizens in the Lester Prairie and Winsted areas.
Dick and his wife Joan, site managers Joyce Glessing and Irene Kegler, along with many volunteers, are the reason this program runs so smoothly.
The program provides one full well-balanced meal a day with dessert and milk.
“It’s a nutrition program, not just for poor people,” explained Dick.
These meals are served mornings at 11:30 a.m. at the American Legion in Winsted, and for those who can’t make it there due to injury or illness, for example, Meals on Wheels delivers to homes between 11:00 and 11:30 a.m.
“The rule is if you can go to your mailbox, you can come to the site,” explained Joan on how it is determined who qualifies for Meals on Wheels.
Currently, rides are not offered to the site, but if a ride is needed, Joan or Kegler should be contacted, and they will try to arrange one.
The cost is $3.25 for those 60 years and older, and $6 for anyone younger than 60.
A ticket can be purchased which is good for 10 meals, or cash can be paid each time.
The meals are served Monday through Friday, and the program is closed only on major holidays.
“By providing one well-balanced nutritious meal, it keeps them in their homes longer instead of having to go to a nursing home,” explained Joan.
The meals are prepared at St. Mary’s Care Center, and volunteers pick it up and bring it to the Legion.
Once there, the containers for Meals on Wheels are filled to be brought to the homes of the people who have requested it.
The remainder of the food is served at the site to the people who come there.
On average they serve 25 people daily at the site along with 15 served through the Meals on Wheels in the Winsted and Lester Prairie area.
“The meals are very, very good,” commented Joan.
Special meals can be ordered and prepared, for diabetics, for example, if prescribed by a doctor.
It’s not just an opportunity for a good meal, but also a chance to socialize with others.
“Tuesdays, there’s bingo at 9:30 a.m. until they eat, and on Thursdays they play cards at 9:30 a.m. until they eat,” explained Dick.
“Socializing is great. We play bingo, cards, tell stories,” Rozeske added.
Many people enjoy it very much and look forward to the food and socializing with others, explained the Gentys.
“More people should come that need to be here for conversation,” added Irene Weinbeck.
The Gentys also explained that it is especially good for the widowers and people living alone who may not be eating right. This program allows them at least one nutritious meal a day.
Lutheran Social Services of Fargo covers the cost of the cups, plates, and take-out containers.
Donations from Winsted Township, the City of Winsted, and the Legion help defray the costs of lights, heat, air conditioning, and garbage pickup.
The success of the program would not be possible without the many volunteers.
“They are total volunteers,” explained Dick.
Even the people who eat at the site volunteer by dishwashing, and cleaning up.
Anyone wishing to have a meal must provide one day advance notice whether they come to the site, or want to have it delivered, so enough food will be available.
“Everybody is welcome,” the Gentys added.
Anyone with questions, or those who want to volunteer, can call the Legion weekdays between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at (320) 485-4366, or Dick or Joan Genty at (320) 485-2567.