Recent News

Local food the focus of $1.25 million grant to Copper Shores

Copper Shores Community Health Foundation is excited to announce a $1,289,510 grant from the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program for Copper Shores Meals on Wheels programming. This funding was provided through the Food Bank Council of Michigan.

The purpose of this grant is to support and improve the resilience of local supply chains, allowing states, tribes, and territories to offer healthy and nutritious foods and beverages. With the funding, Copper Shores can offer assistance that is tailored to the challenges faced in the Copper Country, and offer foods that are unique to the area.

This grant will help Copper Shores serve the very best quality food to our local seniors with locally sourced food and establish working partnerships or relationships with a variety of local food producers. The grant allows organizations to form partnerships in a 400-mile radius, meaning there is potential to work with over 250 regionally based farmers and producers.

“For the past year we have been tweaking and testing menu items that include more seasonal produce and to now have the funds to launch a regional food program for our Meals on Wheels clients is incredibly exciting,” said Kathleen Harter, Program Director at Copper Shores Meals on Wheels. “We are so excited to produce high quality meals that are full of color, flavor, and celebrate the diversity of local foods that are grown in the upper Midwest. We are looking forward to working with and establishing long-standing partnerships that carry us forward beyond the life of the grant.”

By working with farmers, growers, jam producers, bakers, butchers and more to bring fresh local foods to Copper Country residents, Copper Shores will set up a long-term relationship with local vendors and put resources and money right into the local economy. 

These relationships will benefit local businesses and farmers by giving them consistent business, and benefit Copper Shores as a consistent buyer of high quality locally grown foods. This means that the programming created by the grant will be able to continue past the initial funding.

“We want to create a sustainable food system that supports small agricultural businesses while getting the most nutritious foods we can to our clients,” Harter said. 

Copper Shores is currently in the process of researching and developing expectations for produce amounts, costs and timing. Formal partnerships are expected to launch starting this fall. With the expected influx of local foods, Copper Shores is planning to improve its facilities and kitchen equipment to process goods more efficiently. The grant will help fund needed upgrades and aid Copper Shores as it expands its local food offerings. 

Copper Shores Meals on Wheels is a home delivered and congregate meal service that services Houghton and Keweenaw counties in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The Meals on Wheels program is part of the programming offered by Copper Shores Community Health Foundation. Learn more about Copper Shores as a whole at and about the Meals on Wheels programming at

Senior Project Fresh Coupon Distribution Begins Monday, June 19

Distribution of Senior Project Fresh Coupons will take place starting Monday, June 19 through Thursday, June 29, 2023 at locations throughout Houghton and Keweenaw counties. 

These coupons are for seniors over the age of 59 living in Houghton or Keweenaw county who meet specific income requirements. The coupons are valued at $25 and can be used at any participating farmer’s market in Michigan – to purchase more than 80 types of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Seniors may be eligible if they are in a single household with an income level under $25,142 or a household with two people with an income level under $33,874. Those 55 years of age and a member of a Michigan federally recognized tribe or urban tribe who meets the income requirements, may also be eligible to receive Senior Project Fresh coupons.

Some of the produce that can be purchased with these coupons includes but is not limited to watermelon, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, strawberries, rosemary, lettuce, honey, cucumbers, brussel sprouts, blueberries, asparagus and apples. With more than 75 varieties of food that are included in Senior Project Fresh, there is sure to be something for everyone.

Coupons will be distributed June 19 to 21, and June 26 to 29 at select locations in both Houghton and Keweenaw Counties. Coupons are available on a first-come first-served basis with limited amounts of coupons. To learn more, see the full schedule of coupon distributions, and find a list of all eligible fresh fruits and vegetables, visit

For those who can’t make it to a listed location, the coupons will be available at the MSU Extension office at 1500 Birch St., Hancock after Thursday, June 29. If you have any questions, call the MSU Extension Office at (906) 482-5830.

Senior Project Fresh Distribution Dates

  • Monday, June 19
    • Calumet Park Avenue Apartment Complex Congregate Site (Calumet) – 10:00am – 12:00pm
    • Laurium Housing Community Room (Laurium) – 2:00pm – 4:00pm
  • Tuesday, June 20
    • Maple Lane Congregate Site (Lake Linden) – 10:30am – 12:00pm
  • Wednesday, June 21
    • Chassell Fire Hall (Chassell) – 10:30am – 11:30am
  • Monday, June 26
    • Douglas House (Houghton) – 10:30am – 12:00pm
    • Keweenaw Pines (Mohawk) – 1:00pm – 2:30pm
  • Tuesday, June 27
    • Lakeview Manor (Hancock) – 10:00am – 12:00pm
    • Heritage Manor (Houghton) – 1:00pm – 3:00pm
  • Wednesday, June 28
    • Arbor Green (Houghton) – 12:30pm – 2:30pm
  • Thursday, June 29
    • Scott Building (Hancock) – 10:00am – 12:00pm

Senior Project Fresh Eligible Items

  • Apples
  • Fennel-Finocchio 
  • Potatoes
  • Artichoke-Cardoon 
  • Garlic 
  • Pumpkins (for eating only)
  • Asparagus 
  • Grapes 
  • Radishes
  • Barley Grass 
  • Green Dandelions 
  • Raspberries
  • Basil 
  • Greens (all) 
  • Rhubarb
  • Beans (all) 
  • Honey (all types) 
  • Rosemary
  • Beets 
  • Horseradish 
  • Rutabagas
  • Blackberries 
  • Howell Melons 
  • Sage
  • Blueberries 
  • Jerusalem Artichoke 
  • Salsify & Scorzonera
  • Bok Choy 
  • Jute 
  • Saskatoon berries
  • Brussels Sprouts 
  • Mallow/Mloukhia 
  • Scallions
  • Cabbage 
  • Kale & Collards 
  • Shallots
  • Cantaloupe 
  • Kohlrabi 
  • Sorrel
  • Carrots 
  • Leeks 
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower 
  • Lemon Balm 
  • Sprouts
  • Celeriac Lemon Grass 
  • Squash (all)
  • Celery 
  • Lettuce (all) 
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries 
  • Lovage 
  • Summer Savory
  • Chicory
  • Marjoram 
  • Sunchokes
  • Cilantro 
  • Mint 
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Corn (not ornamental or popcorn) 
  • Onions (all) 
  • Swiss Chard
  • Cranberries 
  • Oregano 
  • Thyme
  • Cucumbers 
  • Parsley 
  • Tomatillo
  • Currants 
  • Parsnips 
  • Tomatoes
  • Cutting celery 
  • Peaches 
  • Turnips
  • Dill 
  • Pears 
  • Watercress
  • Eggplant 
  • Peas 
  • Watermelon
  • Baby Eggplant 
  • Peppers (all) 
  • White Strawberries
  • Elderberries 
  • Persimmons
  • Epazote Plums


Introducing Copper Shores Community Health Foundation

New Name for Portage Health Foundation, Dial Help and Copper Country Senior Meals

Three historic nonprofit organizations are moving forward under the same name with the introduction of Copper Shores Community Health Foundation. The name represents all services, programs and opportunities offered by Portage Health Foundation, Dial Help and Copper Country Senior Meals.

“The transition to a hybrid-operating foundation is one other form of investment in our community’s health,” said Kevin Store, President/CEO of Copper Shores Community Health Foundation. “We’ll continue our granting along with more direct services as is being asked for by our community.”

The name change comes after Portage Health Foundation announced mergers with Copper Country Senior Meals in March 2021 and Dial Help in April 2023.

The mission of the organization remains the same – to positively influence a healthful community through enhanced philanthropy and collaboration. The combined effort will lead to better opportunities to identify and fill gaps in services and programing in Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties.

Learn more about the services, programs and opportunities provided by Copper Shores at

Weed It and Reap 

2023 Kitchen Garden Underway at Copper Country Senior Meals

Copper Country Senior Meals employees doing garden workAfter every long and bitter winter, spring eventually rolls around in the Copper Country, and with it comes the growing season. Whether it’s native plants that somehow survive the winter with no jacket or mittens, or the produce and flowers our resilient residents plant, spring is the time to get going on our gardens.

Here at Copper Country Senior Meals (CCSM), staff are hard at work preparing for the warmer months, and implementing a home-grown way to feed seniors fresher and more nutritious food. The kitchen garden sits just outside the front doors of CCSM, and could not bring fresh produce closer to home. The herbs and vegetables being grown in-house will be implemented into the menu as soon as they are ready.

The kitchen garden focuses on healthy garden staples, including kale, potatoes, radishes, and popular herbs like garlic and sage. In addition to the basics, the garden includes exciting specialities like lavender and the edible flower nasturtiums.

Growing some of our food in-house is one of many projects CCSM is working on to better serve the seniors in our community and give them fresh and nutritious food. Seniors and community members are encouraged to enjoy the garden as it grows this summer.

CCSM staff took the time to rake, weed, and sow seeds on Wednesday, May 10. It seems the vegetables are just as excited to feed seniors as the staff are, as some are already sprouting. 

The garden also works as an educational opportunity. Kathleen Harter, executive director of CCSM has taught new staff how to garden and take on self-sustaining practices. She believes that anyone can garden with a little help and a patient mentor.

In a few weeks time, the staff will be able to reap the benefits of their hard work and put the produce and herbs straight into their cooking, for the freshest flavor possible. With whole heads grown from just one clove of garlic and pounds of potatoes right outside, seniors are sure to love the food.

Seniors love the food not only because it’s healthy, but because it’s beautiful. The rich colors on fresh, whole foods are much more enjoyable than a highly processed meal.

Copper Country Senior Meals is available to all homebound residents of Houghton and Keweenaw counties. To learn more and get started receiving meals daily, visit or call 1 (906) 483-1155. 

Tribin Holbrook Takes on Kitchen Manager Position at Copper Country Senior Meals

Copper Country Senior Meals (CCSM) welcomed Tribin Holbrook to the role of Kitchen Manager in April. Holbrook is excited to help create even better food for seniors and find ways to continually improve nutrition and flavors, as well as revamp the menu and expand it to include bakery.

“His enthusiasm and ability to work in a team is perfect for this environment,” CCSM Executive Director Kathleen Harter said. “We have a strong positive working environment and he fits in extremely well.”

Holbrook’s role will be varied on a day-to-day basis, including tasks like reviewing the menu to ensure that it’s nutritionally balanced, helping train new staff, scaling meals, ordering food and supplies, overseeing kitchen operations, and supervising kitchen staff, including cooks, packers, and food preppers. In addition, Holbrook steps in wherever and whenever he is needed, taking on routes when regularly scheduled drivers are unavailable, doing dishes so the others can continue to work, and adjusting plans effectively on the fly due to inclement weather.

Holbrook has nearly a life-time of experience, starting as a dish boy at 12 years old, and later cooking through his teens. Nineteen years ago, after a decade break to pursue other careers, Tribin moved to the Copper Country and took on a variety of jobs including cooking for local restaurants, Baraga Correctional Facility and Finlandia University before being hired full-time as the CCSM Kitchen Manager.

“When I first started working here, I asked myself ‘Is this all true, are all these people really this nice?’” Holbrook said. “It really is the way it is. We’re doing something more than just making a living. They’ve made it easy to really buy into the mission.”

It is clear that through his time in the Copper Country Holbrook has truly connected with people in the food industry and displays an enthusiastic desire to provide the best for seniors.

Copper Country Seniors Meals serves Houghton and Keweenaw counties with meal deliveries and congregate meal sites throughout the region. If you’re interested in learning more about Copper Country Senior Meals, signing up for services or seeing employment opportunities to join the team, visit