Vilas Co. 'More Than a Meal' program hopes to attract more seniors, activities Submitted: 03/27/2014
Vilas Co. 'More Than a Meal' program hopes to attract more seniors, activities
Story By Kalia Baker

EAGLE RIVER - The senior nutrition program in Vilas County helps feed seniors who can't cook for themselves or who need to spend time around their peers.

But most of the meals are prepared for home delivery. For the seniors who can't get out, the Meals on Wheels program is a huge help.

Lynn's Catering in Rhinelander contributes food for the 'More Than A Meal' Cafe in Eagle River. The owner of Lynn's Catering, Lynn Papineau has been helping with the program for 15 years.

"It's very rewarding that I'm doing something good for the community, for hundreds of people and feeding them good food," said Papineau.

The county's commission on aging director says not enough seniors are taking advantage of 'More than a Meal' Cafe.

A four dollar donation is encouraged, but nobody is turned away if they can't afford it.

Other sites in Vilas County are sponsored by restaurants.

"We want to make sure that everyone [who is eligible] knows about the program to attend," said Sue Richmond. "We want to increase those numbers, get those people out and about. get some fresh air, have some fun. We want to make this program the best that it can be."

The amount of federal dollars the county can get depends on the amount of meals per year.

In 2013, the commission provided 17,000 meals. The commission's director hopes to see that number increase.

"It's one of the largest programs that the Older Americans Act funds and it's so important, you need nutrition to live," said Richmond. "We're working on ways that we can try to get service to the areas that we can't right now. and we're always trying to think of new ways to do things better."

Vilas County Commission on Aging recently applied for a grant that could help the program. It would allow the commission to find innovative ways to promote and change the program.

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