More than 1,000 senior meals served through Soldier program
On a recent Friday morning at the Soldier Grill, Rosemary Junod could be found preparing four take-out meals of chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes, corn and cookies.
“Usually on Wednesdays, we have eight or nine, and on Mondays and Fridays, we have about four or five,” Junod said of the take-out dinners, which she then placed into heater bags.
But the meals aren’t for the grill’s usual lunch customers. They’re for senior citizens in the Soldier area who are unable to get out and about because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
So far, more than 1,000 of these take-out dinners have been delivered to senior citizens with Soldier addresses, whether they live in the city limits of the northwest Jackson County community or just across the Nemaha County line, according to Luke Schreiber of Soldier Christian Church, which got the senior meal program started just as the pandemic was ramping up little more than a year ago.
Volunteers have been delivering the meals to seniors in the Soldier area on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for the past year after church members looked into creative, helpful and sustainable ways to help the community’s older residents, Schreiber said.
“We’ve known for some time that outside of the larger towns in our county, there just aren’t always a lot of easily accessible services to seniors,” he said. “Most of my life, I’ve watched folks spend as long as they can on the farm and then move into Holton or Onaga. And to be honest, it’s a welcome and good move to many of them.”
Rural Soldier resident Deb Brown, who has been helping with meal deliveries, said the program — which she described as “our own little Meals On Wheels” — has been a boon for older folks who’ve been staying at home.
“It’s something that was truly needed, and we didn’t think it was anything the government was going to step up and help with,” Brown said. “We just did it ourselves. It’s worked out pretty good.”
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