Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pizza partner has potential to serve new slice of senior pie

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 4/28/2014

Cathy Duderstadt was “drooling” over the new alternative menu provided for seniors, she said.

Mid-America Nutrition, 1538 N. Industrial Avenue, Ottawa, recently announced a new partner to help feed local seniors — Pizza Village, 330 S. Main St., Ottawa.

Cathy Duderstadt was “drooling” over the new alternative menu provided for seniors, she said.

Mid-America Nutrition, 1538 N. Industrial Avenue, Ottawa, recently announced a new partner to help feed local seniors — Pizza Village, 330 S. Main St., Ottawa.

The restaurant has teamed up with Mid-America Nutrition’s CHEFS (Choosing Healthy Eats for Seniors) program to provide healthful eating alternatives for seniors 60 and older who might not be able to make it to the Ottawa Senior Center’s meal time, Duderstadt, Mid-America Nutrition executive director, said.

The program was developed because seniors can receive meals from the Ottawa Senior Center, but some are unable to take advantage of the service because of the meal’s timing — noon Monday through Friday, Duderstadt said. The community has seniors who can’t make the lunch-time meal because they have schedules that create conflict, such as seniors who are still working during the day, she said.

“We realized not all seniors have that flexibility,” Duderstadt said. “A lot of seniors are still working or taking care of family. They have a lot of different things going on in their lives and that situation doesn’t meet their needs. But they can get these CHEFS vouchers and go to Pizza Village and also get a meal that meets the nutritional guidelines we have for our program, and they can do it at a time that’s convenient for them.”

Rick Uht, owner of Pizza Village with Juana Uht, said he was happy to offer a helping hand. When Uht noticed the program’s former partner, Bella Cucina, closed its doors, he saw a perfect opportunity to help members of the community, he said.

“We’re happy to do it,” he said. “It’s a great service for the seniors, and we’re glad we got hooked up to it.”

Pizza Village was chosen because its menu has several eating options available that match the nutrition guidelines of the program, Duderstadt said. Seniors may come to the Mid-America Nutrition office or the Ottawa Senior Center, 130 S. Main St., Ottawa, to pick up a voucher to use for the meal, she said. The program asks for a $4 donation for the voucher, she said.

The voucher covers the costs of food and drinks that match the nutrition guidelines, Duderstadt said, so no alcoholic or sugary soft drinks may be purchased with the voucher. But the menu has a wide variety of foods from which the seniors may choose, she said.

“I was drooling over [the menu] when we got it,” Duderstadt said, “because it’s like pastas, salads, sandwiches and even individual pizzas.”

The CHEFS program runs 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.

It’s possible more restaurants could be added to the CHEFS program, Duderstadt said, and Mid-America Nutrition is always looking for meal alternatives for seniors.

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