Recent News

Homemade Happiness

The sky is still dark, the roads are yet to be filled with cars, and only the birds dare break the silence of the early morning. Every day before the sun rises over the valley, Copper Country Senior Meals staff are in the kitchen cooking homemade meals for hundreds of people.

Not only does Copper Country Senior Meals (CCSM) have a team of dedicated delivery drivers who trudge through the snow and rain to bring food to seniors, but they also have a team of cooks who wake up every day before the sun to make homemade meals for local residents.

There is a dedicated team of people preparing food in the kitchen every morning at 6 a.m. It is vital for them to start early, allowing them enough time to cook for around 150 people. 

Home cooked meals are a cornerstone of what Copper Country Senior Meals offers everyday,” said Executive Director, Kathleen Harter. “In addition to the daily check-ins with our seniors, kitchen staff prepare each day’s meals from 6 to 9:30 a.m. All of the meals are prepared with love, planning, and care.” 

CCSM believes it is important to offer home cooked meals, made fresh every day. This is not true of all Meals on Wheels programs, and thus a point of pride for CCSM. 

“Staff work hard to make sure the meal is presented in the best way possible and is as full of flavor while still being low in sodium and sugar,” explained Harter. “Most of our meals are home made and take one-to-two days to prepare.” 

The cooks research and test every recipe before serving it to seniors. After finding a good recipe, they adjust it to serve 300 people. It’s not just about taste, distributing proper nutritional health is also a large focus for CCSM.

“Menus are reviewed by our in-house nutritionist to ensure they meet the recommended dietary allowance for seniors,” said Harter. “All of these steps take time, but it’s something the kitchen staff take pride in. It’s vital to ensure that area seniors receive nutritious, home-cooked meals.” 

If you would like to see what else Copper Country Senior Meals has to offer, visit us online and subscribe to our monthly email newsletter.

Partnership with Ghost House Farm Blossoms

Copper Country Senior Meals Partners with Local Farm to Provide Fresh Food

Ghost House Farm is a locally owned farm that has partnered with Copper Country Senior Meals in order to provide fresh food for seniors. Though originally started unexpectedly, this partnership has blossomed into a cherished relationship.

Drew Cramer and Allison Mills, owners of Ghost House Farm, believe that healthy and accessible food begins with healthy soil. They practice sustainable farming techniques such as crop rotation, crop covering and raising livestock.

These practices help ensure that the nutrients necessary to grow food are always present in the soil they grow in. In order to keep food, resources and money in the local economy, Ghost House Farm provides subscription services for eggs, fresh produce, flowers and local meats through a partnership with Frozen Farms.

A balanced diet is a key part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, it is much more difficult to sustain healthy eating when the ingredients are not accessible. Ghost House Farm is focused on providing food accessibility to citizens of the Copper Country.

Last year, Ghost House Farm partnered with Copper Country Senior Meals (CCSM) in an effort to reduce food waste while simultaneously offering the seniors fresh produce. Ghost House Farm ended up with 100 extra winter squashes, and that led to a partnership that offered seniors financially and environmentally sustainable produce.

“I thought it was a little thing when I donated the squash, but there were seniors in tears because they hadn’t had squash in decades,” said Cramer.

As the partnership continued, Ghost House Farm supplied fresh salad mix, which was greatly appreciated by the seniors. Kathleen Harter, executive director of CCSM, explained that this is not a food that seniors will typically buy for themselves.

“If you think about everything that goes into making salad… this is something they don’t buy because it often goes bad before they can eat it all,” said Harter. “If you are one person eating by yourself, which many of our seniors are, it’s going to go bad.”

Offering one portion of salad as part of a daily meal has allowed many seniors to start eating salad again. Not only is it good to have fresh food, but the salad also offers more color and new tastes to the menu. For many seniors, the salad ingredients are reminiscent of the gardens and farms that were once a part of their daily lives.

Though Cramer and Mills were just looking to help an old friend and former boss, Harter, they helped kick-start programming that they hope will help finance more fresh, local produce.

In March, Ghost House Farm launched a Copper Country Senior Meals donation subscription, in which people can choose to sign up and donate weekly towards providing seniors with fresh produce. Though this feature is brand new to their online store, their goal is to reach $50 per week this summer. Within a week they were up to $6. 

“That would enable us to donate five pounds of salad mix and a couple of pounds of other seasonal produce to Copper Country Senior Meals every week,” said Cramer. “I’m hopeful we’ll get there.”

CCSM and Ghost House Farm plan to grow their partnership to address community needs.

“I am so grateful and appreciative of their community focus and wanting to help serve seniors with fresh foods as much as possible,” said Harter.

If you would like to support Ghost House Farm and Copper Country Senior Meals, consider subscribing to the donation program. The default donation is $1 per week, but if you wish, you can order multiple $1 subscriptions to donate more than $1 per week.

You can sign up today by visiting Ghost House Farm’s online store. To keep up with us at Copper Country Senior Meals, sign up for our monthly email newsletter.

Warming Hearts and Heads

Calumet’s Hats for Hope Donates Handmade Goods to Seniors

One thing that always makes interactions more exciting is offering them a homemade gift of warmth. Calumet’s Hats for Hope Initiative is a knitting chapter based in Calumet. These individuals gather every week to catch up and create homemade items, all while doing something good for the community.

Copper Country Senior Meals is a vital service for many senior citizens in the U.P. They provide a homemade, fresh cooked meal to seniors that are home bound or have transportation limitations. Unfortunately, the interactions between residents and their drivers are sometimes the only connections they get to make in a day.

Jen, a member of the knitting group and former director of Copper Country Senior Meals, recognized this disconnect for residents and sought out one way to mitigate the issue. She proposed that the Calumet’s Hats for Hope group work to bring seniors of the Copper Country some delight and warmth.

While knitting, crocheting, spinning and weaving are among a few of the passions they have, they all share a passion for the area and caring for the people in it. Many residents do not have the resources to obtain items that are necessary for the harsh winters of the Copper Country. The members of the group are happy to provide and create hats, scarves, shawls, mittens and lap blankets.

“Well over 1,000 items are given away each year,” Sue, the original organizer of the group, explained. “Everything that is donated stays in the U.P., nothing is ever sold.”

This group has been together since October of 2015, outlasting setbacks like the pandemic. They even get together on some holidays, one member saying that the get together is their “sanity break for the week.”

The group has also donated hats and other goods to U.P. schools, VFWs and care facilities such as the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home.

“There’s a lot of need, we feel like if one hat makes a difference, then it is worth it,” said Sue. After realizing that they could not keep up with the demand, Sue put out a call for donations on the Calumet Hats for Hope Facebook page and was overjoyed to see goods arrive from all over the country.

“It makes you feel good to know that you are able to create something that will help others stay warm,” said Susan, member of the group.

“It warms our hearts to keep them warm,” said Teri, to which other members agreed whole heartedly.

The group has served as a second home for its members, many of which are not from the Copper Country originally. The donations have been one way for them to connect with locals and build lasting relations with community members.

The sense of home and belonging extends to the people that receive hats, mittens and scarves. Human connection can brighten anyone’s day, but few love and appreciate it more than the people who receive Senior Meals.

Some wear their items every time they see their driver just to show how excited they are to have it. Jen recalled one man who wore his handmade mittens every single day until they wore out and he needed a new pair.

“There’s nothing cooler than seeing someone in town wear your hat,” Jen said.

The group continues to meet weekly on Mondays at the Calumet Art Center. While they are done delivering for this winter, they plan to continue their efforts with Hats for Hope for next winter. In the meantime, they are considering focusing on the blossoming of spring and the blossoming of life, babies.

If you would like to get involved, you can message them on Facebook. They are always taking yarn donations, and the group is open to anyone.

Copper Country Senior Meals Joins in Month-Long March for Meals Celebration with Communities Nationwide

Support will help to fight senior hunger and isolation in Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw Counties

Copper County Senior Meals (CCSM) announced today that it will be participating in the 21st annual March for Meals – a month-long, nationwide celebration of Meal on Wheels and our senior neighbors who rely on this essential service to remain healthy and independent at home, now even more so amid a lingering pandemic and high inflation. Copper County Senior Meals’ celebration will include various activities throughout the month of March.

“These daily visits are so important in alleviating social isolation,” CCSM Director Kathleen Harter said. “Many area seniors feel forgotten and they truly look forward to the daily visit and hot meal.”

For home bound seniors, ‘meals on wheels’ are available. This vital service not only provides a hot meal, but also a visit from a dedicated delivery person. Meals and milk can be opened, and if a senior is not home, or able to open the door, CCSM calls an emergency contact to be sure of the senior’s wellbeing. Often, this is the only social contact our home bound have, and it is very important for them to have a connection with the world outside.

The annual March for Meals celebration commemorates the historic day in March of 1972 when President Nixon signed into law a measure that amended the Older Americans Act of 1965 to include a national nutrition program for seniors 60 years and older. This critical support and federal funding has fueled the growth of the Meals on Wheels network for more than 50 years.

During the month, community-based Meals on Wheels programs from across the country will join forces for the annual awareness campaign to celebrate this successful public-private partnership and garner the resources needed to reach every senior in need of a nutritious meal, friendly visit and safety check.

“March is an important time for us to come together to ensure that Meals on Wheels is there for all of our senior neighbors in need,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “The demand for services is already great and approximately 12,000 Americans are turning 60 every day. We must maintain and expand the programs that have helped so many get through this unprecedented time in our nation’s history. We can’t do it alone. It takes all of us to keep the nationwide Meals on Wheels movement going.”

For more information on how you can volunteer, contribute or speak out for the seniors in the Copper Country this March, visit