Grand Forks meal delivery programs announce merger

Two local meal programs for homebound residents, Meals on Wheels and Home Delivered Meals, will now both be operated by the Grand Forks Senior Center.

Meals on Wheels is a national program with a local chapter operated by the Grand Forks Senior Center. Home Delivered Meals, a small, independent nonprofit, will now be run alongside Meals on Wheels. The two programs will keep their names and remain separate entities but will operate under one umbrella.

The addition of Home Delivered Meals will allow the senior center to serve a greater number of people. Previously, the senior center was not able to cross state lines to deliver meals through Meals on Wheels, but can do so through the Home Delivered Meals program. Home Delivered Meals will expand other criteria for meal delivery, such as people who are under 60 years old, not homebound or who require special diets.

Prior to the merger, Home Delivered Meals operated out of Altru Hospital. The program's location was the extent of its relationship with the hospital.

Jami Schumacher, Grand Forks Senior Center public relations manager, said duplication between the programs was the main reason to merge them.

"We've had different funding agencies inquire why we have two meal delivery programs within our city, so being able to address that and bring it under one umbrella I think will be a positive thing," Schumacher said.

Neither the senior center nor the residents it serves through meal delivery programs will see a cost difference as a result of the merger. The two programs will continue to use separate payment methods as well. Meals on Wheels has a suggested donation of $4.25 per meal, but people who cannot pay are not required to. Home Delivered Meals uses a sliding scale based on income.

The merger of the two programs will probably not affect the people they serve but may end up benefitting the community in other ways, Schumacher said.

"They're not going to notice any difference in the day-to-day operations, other than it gives the Grand Forks Senior Center, our resources team and our Meals on Wheels, insight into more people who might be homebound and in need of various services because they are homebound," she said.


Source: Hannah Black (GF Herald online, 7/6/16)

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