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Red Wing Meals on Wheels helping out Goodhue program

A fire in Goodhue at the end of September not only destroyed a popular eatery, but also affected the small town's Meals on Wheels program.

Doc Sawyers Restaurant used to cook the food that was distributed to Meals on Wheels recipients in rural Goodhue, but the total loss of the restaurant meant an upset in the program.

Upon hearing of the fire, organizers at Seminary Home, which runs the Red Wing Meals on Wheels program, knew they wanted to offer some assistance to Three Rivers Community Action, the group that orchestrates the Goodhue program.

"We contacted them and said, 'How can we help?'" explained Megan Ramaker, marketing director for St. Brigid's at Hi Park and Seminary Home. "Because of our location of St. Brigid's, we're very close with the Goodhue community."

For the past week, Red Wing volunteers have taken on Goodhue, adding one extra route to their usual list of three. The adjustment wasn't difficult, Ramaker said, because Goodhue had just 10 clients and Red Wing was already accustomed to serving between 45 and 60 every day.

"It just added to that base," Ramaker said.

With Doc Sawyers no longer involved, the food is prepared at Seminary Home before being delivered to a central location in Goodhue. Volunteers with Goodhue Meals on Wheels then transport meals to rural residents.

The program has been successful thanks to the nearly two dozen volunteers that donate their time, Ramaker said. Liz Knapp, a registered dietician from Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing who works with Meals on Wheels for the Seminary Home, agreed.

"It's a program that relies on its volunteers, whom are described as angels by many of the clients receiving their meals," Knapp said. "Without our volunteer drivers, the Meals on Wheels program would not exist."

In addition to the volunteers, monetary contributions also are important to keep the program up and running.

"It is funded mainly through the United Way," Ramaker said, adding that private donations also help cover costs.

Red Wing Meals on Wheels is in the process of recruiting volunteers.

How you can help

If you know someone who would benefit from the service Meals on Wheels provides or would like to donate your time or money to the local program, call the Seminary Home at 651-385-3424.