15 March 2016
The Dogwood Restaurant saved the day for Fluvanna’s Meals on Wheels (MOW) and its hungry clients.
In the past, Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA) provided hot dinners to MOW, delivering them right to the doorstep of Effort Church where volunteers stood ready to package them up and send them off throughout the county.
But due to increased demand on JABA’s kitchen operations, the organization told MOW it wouldn’t be able to provide meals as of Jan. 1.
“It caused us quite a scramble. It was a panic,” said Lisa Himes, chair of the MOW board. “We had to find somebody that could not only prepare that many meals but could deliver the food to us.”
Fluvanna’s MOW brings hot meals to 72 clients throughout the county five days a week. Cooking that much food is no small task.
But during a lunch at the Dogwood, Himes spoke with co-owner Mike Hartling, and he jumped on board. The Dogwood now whips up 72 meals a day, five days a week, and delivers them to Effort.
“We’ve had an outpouring of comments from clients noticing a huge difference in the food quality,” said Himes. “They like it better. Before, the food was coming from Charlottesville. Now it’s arriving from five minutes away. Plus, the Dogwood is cooking for 72 clients, whereas JABA was preparing for a large number for all their programs.”
The hot meals include meat, starch, vegetables, fruit, or milk in a varying menu, said Himes.
“We got out of the cafeteria-style food and made it more quality, made-to-order food,” said Hartling. “We recently made chicken piccata and pork marsala. JABA was forced to cook for a huge number. We are able to come up with fresher products.”