Semcac Senior Nutrition received grant funds from a local foundation ($10k) and from a food insecurity-focused nonprofit ($125k) to purchase the equipment, supplies and for staff time to implement a frozen meal option, for food insecure clients. The program has been able to create fully prepared, frozen, nutritionally-balanced, Registered Dietician approved meals for homebound seniors, and also for Semcac Head Start families. And, the program will be providing frozen meals to food shelves and homeless shelters in the area. This project is allowing the Senior Nutrition program to collaborate with the nonprofit network in new ways.
The grant funds were utilized to purchase a blast freezer, meal trays, food sealing supplies, staff training time, and meal recipe planning.
The new frozen meal service model is being piloted in Winona, from Semcac’s Senior Nutrition kitchen site. As a result, frozen meals are being delivered weekly to 50 Winona County, rural seniors that were previously not able to be served regularly. Meal deliverers are now able to leave a week worth of frozen meals with the client, in one trip to their home. In Winona, the program is able to produce over 1,000 meals per month and are planning to produce over 1,500 meals per month in the near future.
The work plan for the larger grant funding includes providing over 16,000 meals through 6/30/2023. The meals are expected to be provided to the southeastern Minnesota communities, well before the end of the grant period.
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