Recent News

Celebrate Older Americans Month with Copper Country Senior Meals

This month Copper Country Senior Meals (CCSM) is joining the Administration for Community Living (ACL) in celebrating Older Americans MonthACL is focusing on aging in place – how older adults can plan to stay in their homes and live independently in their communities for as long as possible. The 2022 theme is Age My Way, an opportunity for all of us to explore the many ways older adults can remain in and be involved with their communities.

“This celebration fits perfectly with what Copper Country Senior Meals does,” Executive Director Kathleen Harter said. “We deliver nearly 300 meals a day to help people who live independently at their houses or apartments. For many of our residents, the daily visit provides a social interaction and a wellness check which is absolutely vital to their ability to continue living in their homes.”

As part of Older Americans Month, CCSM is partnering with the Portage Health Foundation for a special series of podcast episodes highlighting what makes Senior Meals such a special organization in Michigan’s Copper Country. Episodes will include an overview of CCSM with Harter, a visit with some of the staff that made more than 86,000 meals for our community in 2021, a ride along with one of the beloved delivery drivers and a stop at one of the Congregate Meal Sites that take place each week throughout the Copper Country.

In addition, Copper Country Senior Meals has launched a GoFundMe. This crowdsourcing effort will help purchase new equipment to keep the hot meals hot and the cold meals cold for the everyday deliveries in Houghton and Keweenaw counties. CCSM is looking to raise $5,205. If the goal is met, the organization will be able to purchase 15 new coolers and eight new hot bags. These tools were piloted in 2021 with funding from the Portage Health Auxiliary. 

“The results were incredible,” Harter said. “Our hot meals were at a higher temperature than we’ve ever seen before right through the last delivery. That makes a huge difference in the ability for our seniors to enjoy these meals.” 

Support Copper Country Senior Meals crowdfunding effort by going to gofundme.com/f/senior-meals-delivery-equipment. Learn more about Copper Country Senior Meals at coppercountryseniormeals.org

Senior Meals Hosting Open House for Local Growers

Copper Country Senior Meals (CCSM) is hosting an open house for local food producers and growers on Monday, May 9 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. as it aims to increase the amount of locally grown food the organization serves seniors.

Open House Graphic“Our intention is to learn from growers how we can incorporate more local foods and for growers to better understand our clients and the meals they receive each day,” said Kathleen Harter, Executive Director of CCSM. “This is a great opportunity for a win-win scenario where our growing community of farmers are able to sell more food and we’re able to provide our seniors with more locally grown, healthy foods.”

The event will include a short tour of the facility, a chance for the growers to enjoy the same healthy meal local seniors will be receiving that day, and allow for a question-and-answer sessions.

Interested food producers and growers should RSVP by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4 by calling (906) 483-1155 or emailing main@coppercountryseniormeals.org. Learn more about Copper Country Senior Meals at coppercountryseniormeals.org or by visiting the CCSM Facebook Page.

Copper Country Senior Meals receives PetSmart grant for research

For many seniors, pets are their only consistent companion

Copper Country Senior Meals (CCSM) has been awarded a $15,000 grant to launch a preliminary pet program following a competitive Discovery Grant Program offered through Meals on Wheels America in collaboration with PetSmart Charities.

“I want to thank CCSM employees McKenzie Hart and Emily Rogers for taking the initiative to go after this grant,” CCSM Director Kathleen Harter said. “They know how much of a need there is in our community to support the elders who often have their pets as their only consistent companion.”

The goals of the Discovery Grant Program are to support Members in:

  1. Understanding client needs and existing assets through community assessments and asset mapping;
  2. The adoption and expansion of new services, including pet assistance services, and to ultimately serve more seniors and pets; and,
  3. Successful bi-directional learning via a peer-to-peer cohort and mentorship opportunity.

In total, PetSmart Charities awarded $500,000 to Meals on Wheels America to span pet assistance services gaps.

Studies show that interacting with animals decreases cortisol (a stress-related hormone) levels and lowers blood pressure,” Hart said. “Researchers have also found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, boost one’s mood and increase physical activity. Senior Meals is dedicated to helping seniors live independent lives and this may mean supporting seniors and their constant companions.”

Over the next year, Copper Country Senior Meals will work with the 270 seniors that are currently served to identify critical pet needs. For instance, do seniors need help in procuring pet food, providing daily walks for their pets during icy and snowy conditions, or obtaining pet grooming and veterinarian services?

“We’re very excited about this grant opportunity,” Rogers said. “The awareness we will gain in better understanding our senior clients and the obstacles they may face regarding their pets could make a huge difference for these seniors.”

According to a peer reviewed article titled, ‘Elderly people in many respects benefit from interaction with dogs,’ it was stated that “All too frequently the companionship of a pet is underestimated or belittled, even though pets are often intimate companions for many elderly people. They help them fight off loneliness and solitude and continue their activity. To many elderly people, their animal friend means joy and quality of life (Otterstedt and Rosenberger 2009).”

“We look forward to learning more and assisting our seniors in this new aspect,” Harter said. “Stay tuned this next year as we roll out our findings and potentially expand our services.”

Learn more about Copper Country Senior meals at coppercountryseniormeals.org and about this half million grant from PetSmart Charities to Meals on Wheels America at mealsonwheelsamerica.org.