Meals On Wheels Serving More, Expands Operations

SPOKANE VALLEY — For many seniors in Spokane County, being able to afford a nutritious meal is out of the question. That’s where Valley Meals on Wheels steps in to help along with its brand new kitchen.

The senior feeding programs throughout Spokane County were thrown into crisis last fall due to budget cuts and the loss of a food vendor. But Meals on Wheels picked up the slack and now has its own fully operational kitchen with multiple ovens, a huge freezer and refrigerator.

“At that time Valley Meals on Wheels stepped up to prepare meals for not only our home delivery meal program and senior lunch programs, but also for seven other Senior Centers in Spokane County,” Executive Director Pam Almeida said.

Now Valley Meals on Wheels serves over 400 seniors in the community, handing out 7,000 meals a month. Everything is donation based, but some seniors are able to pay the $3.50 it takes to make each meal.

A typical meal can include chicken wild rice casserole, vegetables, winter squash, bread sticks, pudding, and milk or juice.

“Some of the things people say when we bring the food to the door is just ‘thanks’,” says Almeida. She also credits the cooks for making the program more successful. “The food is so much better. It’s cooked with love.”

The program started in a church kitchen, but now they are in a fully operational kitchen of their own. Each meal is made in the early morning hours and packed up into insulated bags for the warm food and ice chests for the salads and juice or milk.

“Our cooks know how important nutrition is for our seniors, and they are always working on new recipes,” says Almeida.

An open house is taking place Thursday, March 26th from 3-7 p.m. in celebration of the new kitchen. They are located at 218 N. Crestline. You can also donate by going to the Meals on Wheels website.