The Outagamie County Nutrition Program provides approximately 40,000 to 50,000 nutritious meals a year, along with socialization opportunities, for persons 60 years and older or for people with disabilities, at congregate meal sites throughout Outagamie County.
The congregate meal sites are in Hortonville, Seymour, Kaukauna, and two meal sites in Appleton. In addition to meal sites, the program also delivers meals to eligible seniors who are homebound.
The program directly addresses the affect that poor nutrition has on an older person’s independence. It does this in such a way that provides several benefits to participants:
- Nutritious, balanced meals
- Recreational activities
- Socialization opportunities
Monica Pomasl, the volunteer coordinator for the Aging & Disability Resource Center, Outagamie County Nutrition Program, said the primary benefit for participants of the program is that they receive a nutritious, balanced meal.
“There is great variety and the meal has all the elements of a comforting, home cooked meal,” she said. “Equally important, they have the opportunity to socialize, connect with other community members, whether it’s other participants or our volunteers, and engage in activities. That connection is so critically important to our aging population.”
The success of this much-needed program relies heavily on volunteers. The program currently has 110 volunteers, but is always looking for more. For anyone looking for a chance to serve meals and socialize with meal participants, this is an excellent opportunity. Meal site volunteers set tables, serve meals, carry meal trays and assist with cleanup. Home delivery volunteer drivers are needed Monday through Friday mid-day to deliver meals to those who are homebound. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Monica Pomasl at 920-968-2414.
“Our volunteers are the most generous folks!” praises Pomasl. “We could not survive without them. But I believe the benefits of volunteering is a ‘two-way street.’ There is purpose for the volunteer in sharing their time and talents with our program. And connecting with our participants is magical for both the volunteers and participants. Our volunteers receive such joy in serving the seniors in our communities. The smiles and conversation volunteers receive from our participants is a gift.”
In addition to ensuring a nutritious meal, a registered dietitian meets with meal participants once a month to determine their needs and provide education and nutrition presentations. The program is also a direct link to ADRC resources. The program offers long-term support and is a gateway to assistance.
The Outagamie County Nutrition Program is a great volunteer opportunity for those interested in bringing smiles to participants, serving meals and enjoying the time they spend with our aging community members.
“I feel very connected to the people on my delivery route. The recipients of the meals are always so friendly and I love chatting with them, even if it is just for a minute. Whenever I deliver meals, it is the highlight of my day. The people put such a smile on my face, and every single one has formed a special place in my heart.” – Shelly S., meal site volunteer