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'A Taste of Christmas'

Dorothy Melby and June Thompson enjoy the meal at "A Taste of Christmas" Friday evening. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)1 / 2
Harry Dodge, of Park Rapids, signs up for a silent auction item at Friday's event. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)2 / 2

Hubbard County's Meals on Wheels program continues to benefit seniors in the area.

A successful fundraiser Friday assured volunteers that others see the benefit of the program.

Hubbard County Senior Nutrition hosted "A Taste of Christmas" Friday at the Park Rapids American Legion. Cookies, donuts, lefse and pies were sold and a silent auction was held with a raffle and prize drawings.

"We served between 160 and 180 people," said Bob Hansen, who serves on the council. "Everything went really well and it will definitely give us a boost this next year. Boy, what a lift."

A ham and Swedish meatball Christmas dinner featuring scalloped potatoes, glazed carrots, red cabbage, rolls, relish trays, assorted bars and beverage was served.

An application has been made for supplemental funds through Thrivent.

Hansen said that the Meals on Wheels program is for seniors 60 years and older. There are no income requirements. Rather, the food is served to anyone who is in need of a healthy meal.

Volunteers load their vehicles with lunches and set off across Park Rapids as the noon hour approaches five days a week to bring what for many is the main meal of the day.

Senior dining is much more than a meal, Hansen said.

"We deliver between 30 and 40 meals a day in Park Rapids," he said. Additional meals are served in Nevis, Akeley, Laporte and Lake George.

Dining sites are also available for seniors to sit down for a meal and socialize with others.

The meals cost about $6 and the suggested donation is $3.75 per meal. Some funding comes from the Council on Aging but the rest is subsidized. No one will be refused a meal if they can't pay, however.

"The businesses and members of the community have really stepped up to support us," Hansen said.

The council coordinates with area churches to serve and deliver the meals. The daily contact is key to the success of the program.

"It is critical to keep our seniors in their homes," Hansen said. "Sometimes the volunteers will find someone who has fallen."

Also, the cost of year's worth of meals is less than a day in the hospital or nursing home. This enables people to stay in their homes longer.

Residents within Park Rapids may board the Heartland bus at no charge and head to Woodland Court Apartments for the meals.

Senior Dining Center options include Park Rapids' Great Northern Café, the Nevis Senior Center and Northwind Cafe, the Headwaters Cafe in Akeley and Lake George Café.

In Laporte, meals arrive from the Walker Senior Center, a volunteer arriving to assist with preparation.

Hansen again stressed that volunteers and donations make this program possible and he is grateful or the support.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561