As the new dietary services manager at ElderCare Inc. in Great Bend, Tina Mingenback is keeping the road hot in the non-profit agency’s 28-county territory.
Mingenback, a certified dietary manager, recently accepted the position at ElderCare, 5611 10th.
“ElderCare offers nutritious Friendship Meals that taste good at senior centers and for Meals on Wheels,” Mingenback noted. “This is so important because good nutrition affects physical and mental well-being. It has a direct effect on health, happiness, independence and overall quality of life.
“In some cases, this may be the only meal someone has each day,” she added.
ElderCare has 15 kitchens and 40 meal sites in southwest Kansas counties from here to the Colorado and Oklahoma borders. These include the kitchen and senior center in Great Bend.
“My biggest priority at the outset is visiting each site to build relationships with the people who are doing the work every day,” Mingenback said. “The goal is to unify everyone in this big service area.
“Our job will be easier if we are consistent at each location,” she continued. “When services are streamlined and everyone knows what to expect, the people who need us will get even better service.”
Mingenback emphasized that Friendship Meal patrons do not have to be 60 or older to take advantage of the meals.
“They are available to all,” she said. “We do ask that people call the day before so we can better prepare.”
Friendship Meals are served at senior centers at noon Monday through Friday. Carry-out is available, as are frozen meals for evenings and weekends.
For those under 60, the cost is $5.50. Those 60 and over are asked to make the suggested donation of $3.50. But anything they can give is appreciated, Mingenback noted.
“We encourage people to come to senior centers so they can enjoy a well-balanced lunch in the company of others,” Mingenback said. “This reduces the isolation some older people may be experiencing.”
However, Meals on Wheels will deliver to those who are not able to travel to a senior center. The goal is for each meal to provide one-third of the recommended daily intake; ElderCare menus follow state guidelines.
ElderCare also offers nutrition-risk screening and education.
As part of her new job, Mingenback is looking for ways to control food costs, as she collaborates with a dietitian.
Another goal for Mingenback is establishing a program that encourages individuals, churches and civic groups to sponsor meals for people on limited incomes. She will announce more about this later.
Mingenback, who has a degree in business administration, is nationally certified as a Nutrition and Food Professional.
Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact Mingenback by calling 620-792-5942, or a senior center.