A full menu to address seniors’ hunger

From home delivery to drive-thru, the Grand Forks Senior Center has kept tummies full through the pandemic

The pandemic brought access to many goods and services to a screeching halt—and limited food and nourishment sources were no exception.

The staff at Grand Forks Senior Center (GFSC), whose mission is to provide opportunities for older adults to live to their full potential, didn’t skip a beat, though—ensuring that seniors in the area wouldn’t go hungry, and could receive food in a way that was both safe and comfortable for them.

“In what has been an uncertain and sometimes scary time, we wanted to offer seniors somewhere positive to come and receive meals,” says Becky Broadwell, Assistant Director and Development Officer at GFSC. “Our incredible volunteers feed seniors daily with love, compassion and always with a smile.”

In addition to its pre-existing Meals on Wheels and Home Delivered Meals programs, during the pandemic GFSC launched a contact-free drive-thru service, allowing anyone aged 60 or older to pick up hot and frozen meals to take home.

“We just want to be as accessible as possible. No one should have to experience hunger,” says Broadwell. “Our drive-thru service has been very well-received—early on in the pandemic, it served more meals a day than the delivery programs.”

Since March 2020, the center has provided more than 100,000 meals to seniors in the Grand Forks area through its full array of meal programs. And in 2021, the center saw an 11% increase in number of meals served overall—demonstrating the clear need for GFSC services.

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GFSC’s Meals on Wheels and Home Delivered Meals programs themselves collectively furnish more than 200 meals for seniors every day.

“Both meal programs deliver hot and frozen meals that seniors may not otherwise be able to prepare. The Home Delivered Meals program also accommodates special diets and individuals who may be unable to prepare meals themselves,” says Broadwell.

Senior hunger is an ongoing issue in Grand Forks, and the pandemic certainly emphasized the need for help. To alleviate financial stress, all meals are offered under a pay-what-you-can-afford model.

In 2021, Enbridge made a pair of $5,000 Fueling Futures donations to Greater Grand Forks Senior Center, as part of our commitment to help build vibrant communities, with funds fueling ongoing operations.

GFSC also supports seniors’ independent living through a resource department that conducts outreach to determine who needs support and how the center can help them get it.

“Seniors have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and we want them to continue taking part and contributing to our vibrant communities.”