HOISINGTON — Providing more than food, the Friendship Meals program in Hoisington, which have been served in town since the 1980s, has moved to a new location at the Scout House, 419 E. Third St.
More like a family, the atmosphere at the lunches is warm and friendly. Five days a week, hot and nutritious meals are served to area seniors for a $3 donation per meal for those over age 60, and $5 for those under age 60. The meal includes coffee, tea or milk.
"We like it here," said Billie McAlexander, who was attending the lunch. "The meals are good.
"I meet nice people," she said. "We get to visit." McAlexander brought in pictures of her great-grandson to show her friends.
Others agreed that getting together and gabbing was as much fun as the food.
As a cost-cutting measure, the meals were moved to the Scout House last Monday. The city upgraded the facility by adding additional parking and new kitchen facilities.
Pat Conrad, site manager, said 20 meals are served per day on average and carry-out meals are available. They serve 4-8 carry-out meals per day.
The meals come prepared from the Senior Center in Great Bend as a function of ElderCare, picked up by volunteers and kept in a steam table. The meals are also served by volunteers.
"The volunteers make it all possible," said Conrad. And, each dinner is opened with a prayer.
Conrad has enjoyed the bright, clean space, but admits to a few little glitches such as finding where serving items was stored. It’s like moving to a new house, she said.
Conrad agreed that the Friendship meals provided an important social function. "Everybody has a good time," said the manager. "We try to make it a homey atmosphere." They will decorate the tables for the holidays and have special dinners two or three weeks before Christmas and Thanksgiving.
The purpose of the dinners is to provide one nutritious, economical meal to those elderly people who do not want to cook.
The program is different from Meals on Wheels as they do not deliver. But, they can provide meals for those with special diets.
The Scout House was destroyed in 2001 by the tornado and was rebuilt.
Recognizing its importance, the City of Hoisington proclaimed Oct. 4 as Friendship Meals day.