Central Kitchen celebrates first anniversary at Hoffman

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(Top) Roby Fuller gave a tour of the Sharing Spaces Kitchen utilized by the Central Kitchen. (Bottom) Kirsten Martin has worked as the kitchen’s chef. (Steve Van Kooten/Courier Press)

“That’s more than enough for me,” Mayor David Hemmer said after he placed his silverware on his plate. A small piece of his cake still remained, but Hemmer waved his hand.

Linda Munson, a volunteer at for the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) Central Kitchen, sat across the table from the mayor and jokingly told him that when the kitchen began on Jan. 10, 2023, there were some complaints about the portion sizes. “We don’t get those anymore, though.”

At Hoffman Hall more than twenty people gathered for lunch to celebrate the Central Kitchen’s one year anniversary. The menu included a hot beef sandwich, mashed potatoes, candied carrots, and sweet corn along with dessert and a variety of drink options.

“I am beyond excited to continue on this journey of not only feeding nutritious meals, but also encouraging individuals to socialize at meal sites,” Roby Fuller, Director for Crawford County’s ADRC, said. “Several of our participants have become family. They enjoy talking and hanging out.” Fuller laid much of the groundwork to establish a sustainable kitchen to serve Crawford County’s senior population.

The Central Kitchen has provided meals during the week as part of the Senior Meal Program, a destination lunch option for individuals 60 and older as well as a meal home delivery service. The program serves Crawford County with four home delivery routes and two meal locations in Prairie du Chien and Gays Mills, WI.

“I’m glad we’re able to serve the community and to provide a nutritious meal for Crawford County residents that are 60-plus,” Jody Eick, Home Delivery Coordinator for the program, said. She estimated the program serves approximately 165 people per day, with an average of 25 at Hoffman Hall, 10 at the Gays Mills location and the rest through home deliveries.

On the other side of town, behind the Opportunity Center, the Central Kitchen has a space through the commercial-grade Sharing Spaces Kitchen where businesses have used a community kitchen space for food preparation. The space has been utilized by the Central Kitchen to provide senior meals as well as designed desserts for local businesses and minimally processed foods for schools and other partners.

The kitchen employs one full-time chef, Kirsten Martin; one part-time chef; and several volunteers.

“We need to get the information out to the people who can use it,” Munson said.

The Central Kitchen continues to provide meals to seniors each week. Anyone interested in joining the lunch program can contact the ADRC office. Menus are available on Facebook and the ADRC newsletter. Meals are $13 for those under 60 and have a $4 suggested contribution for those 60 and older.

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