Reaching more seniors with a hot meal
The CROSS Meals on Wheels program serves about 200 meals a week to seniors who live in the northwest metro. Now the group is using a sliding fee to help deliver food to more people.

"You get involved and you realize what the need really is," said Wally Mortenson, a CROSS volunteer.  He's been with the CROSS Meals on Wheels program for over 30 years.

He and the other volunteers hand out about 45 meals a day to seniors in Maple Grove, Osseo, Rogers, Corcoran and Dayton.

On Tuesday, Mortenson packed up his car with meals and headed out.  One of his stops was to the home of 81-year-old Mary. She said she was grateful for the food delivery. She said without the help, her meals would be very limited.

"I'd eat soup and crackers," she said.

Now more seniors like Mary will be able to get a hot, nutritious meal.

"With the growing population of seniors in the communities that we serve, we know there's a lot more we could be serving," said Stephanie Lehman, Meals on Wheels coordinator.

CROSS is now offering a sliding meal fee. Depending on income, seniors will pay anywhere from $1.50 to $5.50 per meal.

"We will hit this kind of pocket population of people who are maybe low income but not on any type of medical assistance or not a long term care needs," said Lehman.

The organization  is not only serving up hot meals to seniors, they're also dishing out compassion and peace of mind.

"There's that daily well check. Some of our folks might not see anybody for a day, so it's a great way for families to have a check on the family member.

CROSS is also offering a comprehensive in-house screening by a case worker to provide more immediate and longer-term assistance with the clients and their families.

Officials said the goal is to make sure the people who need it the most are getting the help they need. They hope to be able to deliver at least 20 more meals a day under the new program.

Several private and corporate donations were given to CROSS to help subsidize the sliding fee program.
All the meals are catered by Lynde's restaurant in Osseo.

Sonya Goins, reporting

February 3, 2015


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