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Pilot project feeds hungry seniors in New Richmond

Home-bound senior citizens in New Richmond are receiving more deliveries of food thanks to a new pilot project in St. Croix County.

The Aging and Disability Resource Center has partnered with the Five Loaves Food Pantry to better serve those who are stuck at home.

According to Randi Hanson, preventative nutrition program coordinator, home-bound seniors receive four lunches per week thanks to the Meals on Wheels program.

But for three days during the week, she explained, they get no meals delivered.

"That means a lot of missed meals," Hanson said. "We feel it's critical that they get adequate food."

By thinking "outside the box," Hanson said county workers decided to try something new in New Richmond. Once a month, on the second Thursday, bags of groceries are delivered to home-bound residents who request the service.

"You can see on their faces how much they appreciate it and you can see the need," Hanson said.

Of the 20 qualifying home-bound senior citizens who receive meals during the week, 10 have already signed up for the new pilot project.

The participants receive fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods, meat and bakery items.

"The New Richmond Food Pantry and its volunteers have been fantastic to work with, we are grateful for their help," Hanson said.

As the pilot project heads into its second month, Hanson said the county is looking for volunteers to pack and deliver food once a month. She said 4-H clubs, Scouting troops, service organizations and others are encouraged to help out.

"We really want volunteers to run the program," she said. "We want that community tie-in."

If you are interested in helping, contact Hanson at 715-381-4380.

"Our seniors are a vital part of our community and there is no reason they should go hungry in a county that has so many wonderful resources," she said.

As the New Richmond pilot project settles in, Hanson said the county will begin looking at other parts of the county that might benefit from food deliveries to shut-ins.