EAGLE GROVE - After more than 35 years as a registered nurse at Wright Medical Center, Joy Sorensen took off one hat and put on another: Eagle Grove site manager, coordinating daily meals, weekdays at their Senior Citizens Center.
From 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., Sorensen can be found readying the dining room for the upcoming noon meal, for approximately 30 local residents who will be coming as the clock ticks toward noon.
"Some of the funding for the meals is provided by the donations by those eating themselves," said Sorensen. "A portion is government funded through the Older Americans Act." Healthy monthly menus are prepared by a dietitian under the umbrella of Elderbridge Agency on Aging, based in Mason City.
"The food is very good," said Steve Marvets, who eats at the center daily. He and his wife volunteer in the kitchen most days with clean up following the meal.
Some local residents don't come to the center, but have meal deliveries to their homes by Meals on Wheels.
"There are about 44 meals taken to Eagle Grove residents currently," said Loretta Moon, who volunteers to deliver meals to homes.
On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the Eagle Grove center provides nearly 50 meals for either Congregate Meals or Meals on Wheels in Goldfield.
"We provide the meals and the Goldfield people take care of their diners and seeing that the meals are taken to those senior citizens who are shut in," said Sorensen, who is a resident of Goldfield.
"It is just such a nice way to give back to the community," she said. "It is a way to help people and build relationships." She said it isn't uncommon to get a quick phone call from someone who 'just needs to talk' and staying longer to visit is common for those eating together daily.
"It isn't just about the food. It is about the fellowship and visiting with other people," said June Knutson, a congregate meal participant, "It's nice to not have to eat alone."
The Senior Citizens Center isn't used just for the weekday meals: there is card and game playing before and after the meals; putting together puzzles. Monday nights are for Bingo and there are monthly birthday parties.