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Area Meals on Wheels upgrades options

Now in its 50th year, Dunkirk-Fredonia Meals on Wheels will soon launch a new service meant to help seniors who wish to limit their interactions with those outside their immediate contacts in order to minimize risk of severe illness.

Debra Pacos, Dunkirk-Fredonia Meals on Wheels executive director, said the agency will soon be delivering chef-prepared “meal bundles” for seniors who wish to enjoy a home-style meal without having to grocery shop or cook it themselves.

The Chef’s Choice meal project was something Dunkirk-Fredonia Meals on Wheels started working on a few weeks into the pandemic.

“When news about the virus started to break, there was a huge influx of inquiries from worried seniors and their families,” Pacos said. “Many did not meet the eligibility requirements for Meals on Wheels services; rather, they were trying to follow stay at home orders. We had to do something to make their lives easier during this very difficult time.”

Chef’s Choice meals are right-sized for senior appetites, and are an affordable – and safer – alternative to eating out several times a week. There are no wasted or spoiled groceries – just 100 percent fresh, ready to eat meals every time.

“Chef’s Choice bundled meals are for the seniors who are following precautions but are otherwise independent,” Pacos said. “It’s just one way we can help them stay healthy.

“These seniors are living independently, but because they’re recommended to curtail outside activities, these meals will ensure that a well-prepared, balanced meal is at the ready any time they want it.”

The meals are prepared by Matt Brunner of Brunner’s Catering in Silver Creek.

“From shopping, to preparing, to cooking, to cleaning, the duties of meal preparation add up quickly,” said Brunner. “This leaves many seniors either eating out or nibbling on snack foods that do not constitute a good diet. Nothing beats having a chef-prepared meal, ready for the microwave or oven.”

Menus rotate weekly, and clients will have their choice of ten different entrees. Chef’s Choice Meals are sold in bundles of three or five freshly prepared meals delivered directly to your doorstep each week. This frees the recipient from having to wait at home every day to receive meals and allows them to choose when they want to heat up a meal to eat.

“We are delighted to be able to work with a local chef to bring this much-needed service to our senior neighbors,” Pacos said. “It is a great addition to our traditional meal delivery program.”

A United Way community partner, Dunkirk-Fredonia Meals on Wheels also receives support for its programs and operations from the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging, RSVP, area foundations, service organizations, churches and individual donors.

Those interested in the Chef’s Choice Meal Program can call Dunkirk-Fredonia Meals on Wheels at 366-8822.

Meals on Wheels’ traditional daily delivery program continues to serve homebound seniors over the age of 60, as well as others with limited mobility. To learn more, call NYConnects at 753-4582.

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