Semcac partners with agencies to serve more

Published 4:21 pm Saturday, September 24, 2016

Live United, By Blanche Hollerud

Semcac has been partnering with the Freeborn County United Way for the last nine years.  The ongoing collaboration continues to foster healthy and nutritious dining and the opportunity to provide meals with friends in a congregate setting, or home-delivered meals in the rural, very hard to reach parts of Freeborn County.

Marlene Behle recently moved to Senior Towers. Provided

Marlene Behle recently moved to Senior Towers. Provided

Marlene Behle is a new diner to the congregate program and said she intentionally moved to Senior Towers just to be able to walk downstairs and have a delicious meal with other diners.  She said she loves not having to cook for herself, and the meals are wonderful.  Behle was a home economics graduate from the University of Minnesota and says, “I know nutrition.” Her first contact with Semcac Senior Dining was when she was working as the Lifestyle editor at the Albert Lea Tribune a number of years ago. She realized at that time that this was a program that she wanted to participate in. Behle is just one person who continues to benefit greatly from the good nutrition and social interaction with other diners, and she looks forward to the meal every day. 

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Dixie Michaelis has been the site manager at the dining site at Senior Towers for 14 years.  She said, “it’s the meals, and the dinner conversation that makes the program great.”

A hot, nutritious meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday at Senior Towers at 905 Maple Hill Drive for a suggested donation of $4 for the eligible senior that is 60, or older. All ages are welcome and encouraged to attend, also.  Reservations are requested at the dining site by calling 373-7759. Extra meals can also be ordered for weekends and holidays. Many days, Dixie offers special entertaining and educational programs. The program also sends meals out to the congregate site in Alden City Hall. Homebound seniors in Alden, Emmons, Geneva, Glenville and areas outside of city or village limits receive not only a hot, nutritious meal, but also a volunteer’s visit that acts as a safety check for the senior.    Semcac Senior Nutrition has operated in Freeborn County since 1973, and the kitchen in Albert Lea prepares upwards of 200 meals each day.  It is through the generosity of the Albert Lea Trades and Labor that a full-service, licensed kitchen at Senior Tower is made available to Semcac for this meal preparation.  Program staff do pre screenings for the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) program, and refer any eligible senior to Senior Resources. We also accept EBT cards in payment for the meals. 

In our collaborative plan with the Freeborn County United Way, we are working with Freeborn County Senior Resources, to expand the meal service into the more rural areas of the county, and are looking for individuals that are interested in being Meals on Wheel drivers.  Some mileage reimbursement is available through this special collaboration.  For more information on that, you can call program coordinator, Blanche Hollerud at 507-440-0166.

The dollars from Freeborn County United Way help to leverage the program operation in the county, and helps many seniors to be able to stay in their own homes for much longer. If it wasn’t for these  types of partnerships, our program would not be able to help as many people throughout the region.

Blanche Hollerud is the Semcac Senior Nutrition Program coordinator.