By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, COKATO, MN A hot meal and a friendly face can be a welcoming sight, especially for homebound seniors.
Local Meals on Wheels provides seniors ages 60 and older the opportunity to have a home-cooked meal delivered directly to their home up to seven days a week, for a nominal fee/donation.
Lakeside Health Care Center of Dassel prepares and serves the meals for Dassel, and the Cokato Manor prepares the food for Cokato residents. Volunteers from local churches then take turns delivering the meals.
On average, the Cokato site serves 10 to 12 meals a day. Delivery is from 11 a.m. to noon.
Residents can choose how often they want their meals delivered, whether it be once a week or as a week’s worth of food delivered at once, said Kris Knowles, director of food service for Cokato Manor.
The sites also can tailor the meal to the residents who may have varying requests or food allergies, Knowles said.
Senior diners are also able to dine at 11:30 a.m. at Lakeside Health Care Center in Dassel, or at noon at Cokato Apartment 1, 440 Second Street NW.
The menu for both sites, including Meals on Wheels, is published weekly in the Enterprise Dispatch.
The meals served are a full, well-balanced and nutritious.
Meals include a protein, such as meat or fish; a potato or noodle, a side of vegetables, and bread of the day, Knowles explained.
Mary Swedberg receives meals through Cokato Manor.
“It’s wonderful to have hot meals,” she said, adding that often there is enough food for two meals.
She also enjoys the company of those who deliver to her.
In Dassel, there are no income guidelines for meals, but a donation of $4 per meal is suggested. However, no senior will be denied a meal due to the inability to pay, said Claudia Cederstrom, assistant director of senior nutrition for Lutheran Social Services.
Since the program’s implementation in 1972, over 8 billion meals have been served in the US to older Americans, Cederstrom announced.
“This has afforded a multitude of older Americans the opportunity to eat more healthfully, allowing them to remain in their homes and active in their communities,” she said.
“We pride ourselves as being more than just a good meal. Senior dining encourages seniors to stay connected with their communities socially, and allows for volunteer opportunities. Daily delivery of meals provides a valuable safety check for those living alone,” Cederstrom added.
In Cokato, meals are $4.50, with several billing options, and can be paid through medical assistance.
Those in the Dassel area interested in Meals on Wheels should contact Claudia Cederstrom at (866) 974-0289.
Those in the Cokato area interested in Meals on Wheels should contact Kris Knowles, (320) 286-2158, ext. 117.