Gene Kingdon is shown in this 1991 picture transporting home-delivered meals in the old foam containers previously used to keep the food warm during transportation. At this time, Beadle County Area Nutrition was still using the Beadle Transit System to deliver meals. Kingdon continued to help with packing and distributing meals until after he reached 100 years old. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED
On Friday Beadle County Area Nutrition will celebrate 40 years of serving meals.
From 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., a small caramel or frosted roll and coffee will be served for 40 cents. The dinner menu, an all-time favorite will consist of crispy baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, baby carrots, fresh baked dinner roll and fruit crisp with whipped topping. There will be a musical program at 11 a.m. and the meal will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Dinner reservations are appreciated, and should be made by noon on Oct. 31, 2013.
The senior nutrition programs all across the United States came about as a result of the Older Americans Act of 1965. This act was amended eight times between 1965 and 1978. In 1972, funds were authorized for local community programs to provide nutrition services to the elderly. The programs were to provide people aged 60 and over with at least one hot, nutritious meal five or more days a week. Each meal was supposed to provide one third of a person’s daily nutritional needs.
On Nov. 1, 1973, the first senior nutrition site was opened in Huron. An average of 25 meals a day were served that first month. Each meal participant was encouraged to make a donation to help support the program.
An early fact sheet states: “You pay 0 cents or $1.42 or anything in between. You decide! Just come!”
Volunteers helped serve the meals and delivered meals to needy participants. The meals were catered by the Colonial Bakery, and served at the Huron Senior Center, which was then located at 77 Second Street S.E.
In October 1974, a contract was written with the Barn Restaurant to cater the senior meals.
At first, the senior nutrition program in Huron was a satellite of Area IV Senior Citizen’s Nutrition Project located in Aberdeen. The Area IV Project was comprised of 10 counties in the northeast part of South Dakota. In September 1974, the Nutrition Project grant was signed with the Northeast South Dakota Community Action Program in Sisseton.
There was a Nutrition Site Advisory council from the very beginning. The earliest members were Murrel Kratzer, Abe Martin, Almeda Rodman, Carl Odegaard, Avis Eichman, Dean Teller, Phebe Bard, Ardis Gatons, P.K. Brost, Sister Alacoque, and Gladys Anderson. Sister Alacoque was the registered dietician at St. John’s Hospital, and donated her time to provide a nutrition education program each month.
In fiscal year 1977, the meal donations in Huron averaged 57 cents per meal. The average total cost of a meal was $1.60. Food Stamps were now allowed to be used to pay for meals served by the Senior Nutrition projects.
McDougal Hall, a girls’ dormitory at Huron College, was purchased by Huron Housing and Redevelopment Authority and remodeled to become the Huron Area Senior Center in 1976.
The first Senior Nutrition meal was cooked in the newly remodeled kitchen on June 1, 1977. Lucille Goudy was the head cook, and Betty Palmer was the assistant cook. Agnes Ratliff and Ora Dilley were Green Thumb employees who helped in the kitchen and dining room.
A salad bar was added as an alternative to the regular menu, and the GreenThumb employees helped prepare the food for this.
In December 1981, the Huron Area Senior Center Board of Directors wrote a letter to the S.D. Office of Adult Services and Aging requesting that the Huron nutrition site be allowed to “spin off” from Area IV Nutrition and become a separate project, with the Huron Area Senior Center as grantee. Permission was granted, and in 1982 “Beadle County Area Nutrition” was born.
Beadle County Area Nutrition expanded to add meal sites at Huron Adult Day Care, Huron Salvation Army, Wessington and Cavour. Eventually, sites were also added at Highmore, Hitchcock, Wolsey, Wessington Springs, Woonsocket, Courtyard Apartments, Yale and Iroquois.
From the very beginning, BCA Nutrition has depended on volunteers to help in many ways. This has helped keep the meal costs down and provided a way for seniors to share their time and talents. BCA Nutrition now has second-generation volunteers and meal participants. There is currently one third-generation meal participant in Hitchcock.
The state Office of Adult Services and Aging determines a dollar amount per meal that each project will be reimbursed. This is a combination of federal and state money, which now pays for about 40 percent of the cost of a meal. Donations from meal participants and fundraisers provide the rest of the money needed for the meals. Fundraisers include a concert by Kyle Evans, dinner theaters, “Holly Daze” Christmas festivals, Sunday dinners and the “famous caramel rolls” being sold at the State Fair and the Senior Center. Matching funds were often received from fraternal organizations such as Aid Association for Lutherans, Thrivent, and Modern Woodmen. In 2011, BCA Nutrition began to receive community support through funds from United Way.
Holidays have always been celebrated by BCA Nutriton with special meals. Musical entertainment has often been provided by school classes and local musicians. In addition to the traditional holidays, BCA Nutrition has celebrated “Bread in a Bag” day, Western Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, Mardi Gras, and Hawaiian Luau. There have been many farewell parties for staff who have retired or resigned. For many years a “Nutrition Volunteer Appreciation” party was held each spring.
In the beginning, the Home Delivered meals were delivered by a nutrition bus, and then by the Beadle Transit System (now People’s Transit). In 1991, Beadle Transit was told that federal regulations no longer allowed them to deliver meals. Letters were sent to local service clubs and churches to recruit volunteers to deliver meals. That effort was successful, and hundreds of volunteers have delivered meals for the past 22 years.
BCA Nutrition coordinator, Lynette Spanbauer, has seven scrapbooks full of pictures and news articles from BCA Nutrition’s past 40 years. Anyone is welcome to browse through the scrapbooks.
For the complete article see the 10-30-2013 issue.
Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 10-30-2013 paper.