Flavor, Goodness, and Joy

We're launching a production kitchen to better serve our neighbors.

Since 1968, Meals on Wheels Northeastern Illinois has been the premier provider of nourishing meals to seniors. As we turn the page on the next 50 years, we know we must meet current and future expectations of our community with innovation and determination. We know that there are thousands of seniors struggling to access food within the neighborhoods we currently serve. And our current food providers have told us that they're at their maximum production.

Armed with a food production feasibility study and a new strategic plan outlining the steps we need to take, Meals on Wheels Northeastern Illinois is committed to serving the growing needs of our community by opening our own kitchen. We will be one of the first Meals on Wheels programs in the nation to truly embrace culturally conscious, fresh, locally sourced, healthy meal delivery with daily menu choices.  In other words, neighbor seniors will receive deliveries of the meals flavor, goodness and joy!

This food production kitchen will ensure that we can deliver fresh, nutritious meals to more clients than ever. We anticipate doubling the number of clients served within two years with capacity for more growth in the future.  
 
The current priorities are:
  • Lease and equip a kitchen space
  • Hire kitchen staff
  • Expand our operations to more cities and towns
  • Build reserve funds to keep service going

 

We're pleased to share with you updates on our progress.  Keep watching this space for more news!  

Kitchen Updates

  • 2017 - 2019 
    • Review of “Mapping Food Security in Evanston:  An Analysis of Food Access” by Dorothy Hogg, Isabel Hoffman, Joanne Huang, and Julian Sanchez from the Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy Civic Engagement, requested by the City of Evanston
    • Public dialogue of food instability issues in series of events at the Evanston Public Library  2017 - 2018
    • Feasibility study on the need for a food production kitchen conducted by Nell Funk, President and Owner of Now We’re Cookin’, a food incubator consulting company
    • Organizational strategic planning with the Meals on Wheels Northeastern Illinois Board of Directors
    • Implementation of marketing plan with Steve Johnson, Founder and Principal at SJConnects Strategic Communications
    • Implementation of branding plan with Maxwell Billings, Brand Designer, Founder at EightySeven
    • Planning meetings with the Meals on Wheels Northeastern Illinois Kitchen Planning Taskforce
  • 7/1/2019 
    • We changed our name to Meals on Wheels Northeastern Illinois. With this brand, we will immediately be recognized as part of a national network standing against hunger and isolation
    • Announcement of $500,000 campaign to raise funds to launch new food production kitchen.
  • 7/15/2019
    • We are currently in negotiations to lease a commercial kitchen in Evanston. Stay tuned to learn more about our new neighborhood once the site is confirmed!
    • As soon as the site is secured, we will begin plans for a build-out.  This will ensure that we have the equipment we need, and the space is functional for both food production and the everyday work of our mission.
    • The job for Food Service Director has been posted and will hopefully be filled soon.
    • We have raised $300,000 of our $500,000 goal.

 

Join this movement! Please use the form below to donate.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Debi Genthe, Executive Director, Meals on Wheels Northeastern Illinois, at 847-332-2678 or by email at executivedirector@mealsonwheelsnei.org

Many thanks to the generous foundations and individuals who are supporting this community kitchen:

  • The Phoebe R. and John D. Lewis Foundation $100,000
  • Meals at Home Glenbrook Program  $75,000
  • Dana Green and Tom Clancy  $50,000
  • The Retirement Research Foundation $28,000
  • Thekla and John Metz  $20,000
  • Richard and Hylene Dublin $10,000
  • Anonymous Donor $10,000
  • Cudahy Family Foundation $2,000
  • Numerous friends of Meals on Wheels Northeastern Illinios