HJ - CRHC Fresh Eats

Clarinda Regional Health Center’s food service prepares a meal for the Fresh Eats program. Fresh Eats is intended for homebound residents who are disabled or cannot drive to buy groceries or go out to dinner. (photo courtesy of Clarinda Regional Health Center)

Clarinda Regional Health Center’s Fresh Eats program, formerly known as Meals on Wheels, is looking for more customers and volunteers.

Fresh Eats is intended for homebound residents who are disabled or cannot drive to buy groceries or go out to dinner. Fresh Eats provides a balanced, meal and some interaction to visit with delivery volunteers.

Pat Davison, Program Coordinator, said “the meals are balanced among all the major food groups and can be altered to meet customer’s dietary needs such as diabetes restrictions or if a soft, easy to eat meal is preferred. You can have it your way if you have restrictions on what you can’t eat.”

Menus are known weeks in advance, usually released the last week of the month.

There is no age limit on who can receive the meals which are prepared by CRHC’s food service department and delivered within Clarinda city limits.

“There are other food delivery services available. They are not local services and consist mainly of frozen options. We really feel strongly about what we are doing here with Fresh Eats,” said center marketing manager Bethany Muller.

Distribution for meals begins at about 11 a.m. Monday through Friday. Foods are delivered in containers that can keep leftovers in the refrigerator or frozen for later use. The containers are also disposable. Meals may also be delivered frozen at an additional fee.

Volunteers are key to the program’s success. “without our volunteers, we could not provide this service, they are the true champions of Fresh Eats,” said Davison. Dietary Manager. Lisa Allumbaugh adds, “We need volunteers to fill the routes and it’s always good to have a few substitutes too.”

Joy Nordyke, volunteer and wife of health center CEO Chuck Nordyke said, “Volunteering with Fresh Eats is a good opportunity to help provide a great service and help some of our most at-risk neighbors get some social interaction which is important for mental health. My kids and I do our delivery route in the summer and I keep it up while they are in school. I look forward to seeing my folks along the route. I enjoy my time with them.”

Allumbaugh estimated each route takes 30 minutes to complete. Fresh Eats does not operate on the major holidays, like Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July and they abide by the Clarinda school’s decision to close on inclement weather days.

“We are hoping for more volunteers to help us distribute the meals. Our numbers are down, making it difficult to maintain the same number of meals we deliver to community members,” Muller said.

For information about Fresh Eats, and to be a volunteer, contact Lisa Allumbaugh at (712) 542-8261.

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