Grant helps add fresh produce to delivered meals

Les Koob and Nita Hughes were sorting and washing apples this morning, getting ready to put the fresh fruit from Novak’s Orchard into the lunches delivered by Bloomington-Eden Prairie Meals on Wheels.

Fresh apples, a cob of corn, local tomatoes – these are splashes of fresh, nutritious produce that add to the home-delivered meals and are welcomed by residents, whether they are rehabbing from surgery, are elderly or disabled and less able to cook, or are facing other limitations.

These are also lunch additions funded in part by the Foundation, which provided a 2018 grant to help the meal-delivery nonprofit provide fresh produce as a twice-a-week accompaniment to its low-cost lunches.

Keeping meal costs low is important to Meals on Wheels, which is why it uses about 300 volunteer drivers from Rotary clubs and churches, for example, to deliver the lunches to Eden Prairie and Bloomington recipients. And also why it looks for a bargain when it comes to fresh produce, building relationships with local farmers, orchards, and others. When fresh produce is out of season, they turn to snack-size portions of celery sticks, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, plums, raisins, tangerines, and more.

The organization usually has about 30 weekday clients in Eden Prairie and more than 70 in Bloomington. Its other major funders in addition to foundations include churches and civic organizations.

Another 2018 grant by the Foundation is serving a similar purpose: support of Eden Prairie-based PROP’s Fresh Choice Market initiative. This funding helped PROP complete renovations and provide extra cooler and freezer space for perishable food donations.

We all benefit when local persons in need have access to fresh, nutritious, and balanced meals. Better health is a key ingredient to our quality of life. Our thanks to Bloomington-Eden Prairie Meals on Wheels and PROP for making this a priority.

Mark Weber About the Author Mark Weber has been the executive director of the Eden Prairie Community Foundation since October 2013. In this role, he enjoys meeting with Eden Prairie residents, and being an active member of the community. If you’d like to connect with Mark, call him at (952) 949-8499 or email him. You can also read Mark’s full biography.

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