Volunteer home delivery of hot meals began on a small scale in Hennepin County in September 1968 when two Bloomington congregations - Oak Grove Presbyterian and St. Luke's Lutheran - provided meals prepared in a local restaurant. Volunteers not only delivered meals, but spent afternoons visiting with the recipients.
Soon Oak Grove joined with St. Stephen's Lutheran Church and St. Edward's Catholic Church in a task force that met from October 1969 to March 1970, laying the groundwork for a structured home-delivered meals program. The first formal Meals on Wheels program in the metro area, structured as the all-volunteer, community-based effort we know today, began on March 29, 1970, when the Bloomington Meals on Wheels program started delivering meals two days a week to seven clients.
The meals were prepared at the Meri-Manor restaurant. A few months later, In October of that year a five-day-a-week service was inaugurated and the first coordinator, Ann Mykleby, was hired to supervise volunteers and manage the program administration. From February 1972 through November 1974 meals were prepared along with the school meals at Westwood Elementary School. A cook was hired to work out of Oak Grove Presbyterian Church to prepare the meals during school vacations.
In November 1974 the Creekside Community Center opened and worked cooperatively with the city and the Meals on Wheels program to begin providing a congregate meal program and the delivered meal program. The city provided space, equipment and utilities and MOW provided staffing, menu planning, food and supplies. In 1975 the city began paying the head cook's salary and in 1976 began paying all of the cooks' salaries. In 1978 the Meals on Wheels program reverted back to a delivered meal program only.
The city took over supervision of the kitchen but the Creekside meals remained the catering source for MOW. The next move took place in 1994 when Meals on Wheels moved its offices and meal preparation from Creekside Community Center to the Gideon Ponds/Presbyterian Homes in Bloomington.
After 12 years, in May of 2006, the Bloomington Meals on Wheels office and meal distribution moved to St. Stephen Lutheran Church at 8400 France Avenue South where it remains today. There have been four caterers with whom the program has contracted to provide meals at the current location, Including Lettuce Catering, Open Arms of Minnesota, Taher Catering, and the Kitchen of Opportunities (KOO). The KOO is the first local kitchen devoted to serving Meals on Wheels clients throughout the Twin Cities and is a joint project of Metro Meals on Wheels and its 32 local member programs. With a focus on fresh ingredients and from-scratch recipes, Meals on Wheels clients receive nourishing meals that taste good. Professional chefs from Open Arms of Minnesota, who work with KOO to produce the food, have a well-earned reputation for producing tasty and nutritious meals.
Click here to learn more about the Bloomington/Eden Prairie Meals on Wheels.