Every day, according to Pew Research, a whopping 10,000 people celebrate their 65th birthday as Baby Boomers surge into retirement. Every day. And although many of these Boomers on the North Shore are healthy, there are still many other seniors that aren’t and others who may face financial pitfalls. Both are at risk for malnourishment.
Across the country, these seniors and the “hidden hungry” are an often-overlooked group. They become malnourished because of early onset dementia, because they cannot stand long enough to prepare meals, because they do not understand their complicated diet, and because they need temporary help after a surgery.
Meals at Home, the North Shore affiliate of Meals on Wheels, is an organization of everyday people ready to take the challenge head on. Meals on Wheels has delivered “more than a meal” for half a century, watching out for their clients every day and making connections with neighbors. On the toughest days, our drivers are there when health problems require a 911 call.
In the coming months, Meals at Home will be disrupting the culinary profile of these home-delivered meals.
“Hunger is a ridiculous problem for this community to have,” says Debi Genthe, executive director of Meals at Home. “Here in Evanston, we are activating a plan to build a food production facility unlike any other Meals on Wheels organization. It will bring the North Shore’s previously active residents throughout the northern suburbs and all the way up to the Wisconsin state line wonderful, restaurant-quality meals.”
By crafting a diverse menu that is both nutritious and meets medical requirements, Meals at Home picks up modern food trends prepared by locally popular chefs. Special diets such as diabetic, cardiac, renal, and mechanically chopped and pureed will continue to be offered as well.
A new, dedicated kitchen will allow for smoother production operations and easier distribution. With help from area businesses, Meals at Home can serve far more meals, better addressing the needs of thousands of our neighbors.
“We will be looking for a lot of help from volunteers, as well,” Genthe says. “Our expansion brings an opportunity for volunteers to make that connection to their neighbors by helping prep or deliver meals.”
For those who can’t donate the time, donations through mealsathome.org to help sustain these services are always welcome.
“As we make our shift, now is a great time to support shining a light on the hidden hungry in our the community,” Genthe adds.
Meals at Home is also hosting its 2019 Benefit “Feeding Our Neighbors” on May 3 at 6 p.m. at the Evanston Art Center, and tickets are still available online. The event is a great way to fight senior hunger while enjoying a fun evening with live music, great food, and more!