The Home Delivered Meal program is a service provided by Winona Volunteer Services (WVS) in which volunteers deliver a nutritious meal to qualified persons living in the city limits of Winona or Goodview. Some recipients receive meals on a short-term basis; others for a longer period of time.
Who is eligible?
In order to qualify for the Home Delivered Meals Program, a person must be:
- Physically or mentally impaired and unable to prepare adequate meals for themselves
- Homebound or unable to drive
- Living alone or with no other adults willing to prepare meals for them
- Be home between 10:30 A.M. and 12:30 P.M. to receive meals
Who prepares the meals?
WVS contracts with Steak Shop Catering to prepare the meals.
What is the cost?
Clients are billed for the meals they receive in the previous month or are covered through a waiver program. Meals cost $5.35 and milk can be added for $0.50 more for self-pay clients. Please call the WVS office for current prices or waiver information.
What comes with the meals and are dietary options available?
The meals include a meat-based entree, a vegetable, a fruit and a dessert, with milk as an option, based on a menu that rotates every four months. Clients will receive a menu prior to starting the program to review what meals are being served. Upon request, a diabetic dessert can be served. No additional salt is added while preparing the meals; however, salt is contained in the prepared gravies, soups and other canned foods used in making the meals. Persons with restrictive diets should speak with their doctor before signing up for the program.
When are the meals delivered?
Meals are available Monday through Friday, except on the following holidays: Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, the day after Christmas and New Years Day. Clients are billed for scheduled meals unless the client calls WVS to cancel their meal by 9:30 am. A welcome visit to your home will be made before the first delivery to ensure access for volunteers. Usually meals can begin within two business days of a referral.
During inclement weather, meal cancellations may happen if volunteer drivers feel they cannot drive safely. We will announce cancellations on the radio and on the WVS answering machine.
What do I do if I’m interested?
Email WVS at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Client Services Coordinator at: 1-507-452-5591
Home Delivered Meals officially started in the spring of 1971 when Sue Steiner, a Winona Public Health Nurse, brought the idea of providing hot meals to clients unable to make their own meals to a meeting of local service organizations. By that Fall, a board of directors was created, recipients were accepted, volunteers were recruited and the first six meals were delivered.
The original supplier of the meals was Watkins Home. When the program outgrew the Watkins kitchen in 1972, Winona State University prepared the regular meals while Watkins Home prepared the diet meals. Then in 1978 Community Memorial Hospital provided the diet meals when Watkins Home could no longer handle the numbers of meals served. When the program was first founded meals cost $1.25.
Just to clarify, this is not the same program as “Meals on Wheels”. It was never subsidized in any way by the Federal Government, nor was it ever connected with SEMCAC. Originally financed by membership dues and special contributions, the program came under the umbrella of Winona Volunteer Services sometime in 1984.
This program was founded by volunteers and continues to rely heavily on volunteer support. In November 1971, 159 meals were delivered; in 1985 18,217; in 2006 26,382 meals were delivered. Today, we have 11 routes with approximately 8- 15 stops per route. It takes a minimum of 55 volunteers per week to serve an average of 101 clients 18,574 daily meals.