Evening Meals on Wheels moves to Tennyson when complete

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By Sue Berg
Independent Living, Inc.

When Tennyson Senior Living Community opens in the summer of 2018, it will be a new home for residents and for a special program, Evening Meals on Wheels (EMOW). The commercial kitchen at Tennyson — the future home of EMOW — is being underwritten in part by a generous grant from The Goodman Foundation.

Both Tennyson Senior Living and EMOW are managed and operated by Independent Living, Inc. Currently, meals for EMOW are made in the commercial kitchen at The Gardens retirement community on Segoe Road, which is also managed by Independent Living, Inc.

EMOW is a significant resource for seniors. It is the only program of its kind in Dane County and has been recognized for its quality meals by Meals on Wheels America (MOWA). In a year’s time, almost 37,000 meals are delivered to homebound clients in the greater Madison area.

Joyce Behrend, CEO of Independent Living, Inc., said moving production and management of evening meals to Tennyson makes it possible to serve more seniors. “The current kitchen facility, while efficient, lacks room for any more growth,” she said. By 2030, one in five people will be 65 or older, and the fastest growing segment of the population is elders age 80 and older. “The needs will grow with the population,” Behrend added, “and we want to be prepared to help as many as we can.”

Joyce Reimer is a Northside resident who regularly chooses EMOW. “I like this program very much,” she said. “I loved to cook, and I mean I LOVED to cook. But I just can’t stand and cook anymore. I started the program when I needed it.” She enjoys the variety of meals and said the volunteers are wonderful.

Volunteers contribute to the success of the EMOW program. Without them, costs would escalate. What’s more, volunteers are an important connection to the outside world for homebound seniors. Addie Endreson, who coordinates the volunteer program, said, “In just a minute or two, a volunteer lets a senior know that someone cares enough to make sure they answer the door and that they’re OK. It’s a far more important role than many people realize.”

When Tennyson Senior Living Community opens in 2018, there will be many roles for staff to fill. Overseeing Tennyson from construction to staffing is Rita Giovannoni, project development director.

“Everyone who has an interest in working in food service or in other roles at the new Tennyson community is welcome to let me know now,” Giovannoni said. “We’re searching for chefs, kitchen helpers, dining room wait staff and people to work in the bakery/café which will be open to the public. There will be other roles to fill, including resident assistants and administrative staff. We’d love to hear from volunteers, too. These are great opportunities.” Giovannoni can be reached by email at Tennyson@independentlivinginc.org or by calling 274-7900.

Tennyson Senior Living Community is under construction at 1936 Tennyson Lane. Information can be found at www.IndependentLivingInc.org or by contacting Giovannoni.