Age Well (formerly the Champlain Valley Agency on Aging), Vermont’s largest Meals on Wheels provider, has entered into a partnership with Lindley Food Service to support the growing demand and changing environment of Meals on Wheels. Under the current model, Age Well oversees fourteen different food vendors across Northwestern Vermont. “With this many unique vendors, it’s difficult to provide consistent quality control and food variety for the nearly 1,500 people we serve,” stated Age Well Nutrition Director, Chris Moldovan. “Achieving the highest quality of care for aging Vermonters requires we find a way to improve our nutrition program and food production model.”
With 25 years of experience providing quality meals for programs throughout the northeast, Lindley has been a vendor for Age Well’s Addison County meal programs for over two decades. This transition emerged from a three-year process that involved a consultant, focus groups, social service providers, food program coordinators, and other community members. The goals for all stakeholders in this process were the same: expand options and improve quality for home-delivered meals, ensure food safety, provide consistent training and background checks forvolunteers, and meet the dietary, religious and cultural needs of those served.
Lindley will begin preparing chilled meals for Age Well’s entire four county region (Addison, Chittenden, Grand Isle and Franklin County), beginning in early July. Meals will continue to be delivered by the nearly 400 dedicated volunteers who provide a meal, safety check and friendly visit to seniors who struggle with hunger and may be isolated and living alone. “Chilled meals will be prepared by Lindley and delivered in place of the old-style heated meals,” said Moldovan. “This change will provide a number of benefits for our clients; the flexibility to reheat or freeze their meals and eat them at a time that best suits them. Another reason for changing from heated meals to a chilled meals model was our need to enhance food safety, nutritional benefits, and level the playing field in terms of food quality” explained Moldovan.
Lindley will assist with menu planning, customized delivery schedules, and create special menus overseen by a Registered Dietitian. This will enable Age Well to provide therapeutic, medically tailored and culturally appropriate meals and ensure that we are meeting the needs of those with chronic conditions and our increasingly diverse population. With the chilled meals also comes brand new packaging, which will be clearly labelled and specifically designed to reheat easily and safely. The use of chilled meals is now considered best practice for Meals on Wheels programs across the country. By moving to this model and partnering with one vendor, Age Well is taking the necessary steps to ensure consistent quality of our meals, meet a broader range of nutritional needs, and continue to combat the three of the biggest threats of aging: hunger, isolation and loss of independence.
For more information: www.agewellvt.org