New regional kitchen will prepare more than 100,000 meals a year for rural senior citizens
20 Nov 2017
Minnesota's small towns, often dwindling in population, increasingly lack the financial and volunteer resources to care for their aging neighbors
As Minnesota’s population grows older, the issues that arise with age are magnified in the state’s rural areas. Many older adults live alone, often on farms, and often lack easy mobility.
These older adults, who are trying to maintain their independence, often need some help, particularly when it comes to proper nourishment. Throughout the state, Meals on Wheels programs have prepared food for decades to deliver to those who need it.
But Minnesota’s small towns, often dwindling in population, increasingly lack the financial and volunteer resources to care for their aging neighbors. And the situation will only get worse as baby boomers, now in their 50s and 60s, grow older.
In Wadena and Todd counties in central Minnesota, the solution to ensuring proper nourishment has been to supply prepared meals from one central kitchen, rather than smaller kitchens in several towns. That strategy will soon get a boost from the Hilltop Regional Kitchen, a new facility in Eagle Bend that will double the region’s capacity to support Meals on Wheels and other meal programs.
Construction on the $850,000 project, which will open in June and be located in a renovated portion of the closed Eagle Bend High School, is scheduled for January. The kitchen will have the ability to prepare more than 100,000 meals a year “without stressing the system,” said Rick Hest, president of the Eagle Bend Senior Center, which will operate the new facility.