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It's Best Fresh

A  taste of what's happening at Fresh Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization incorporated in 1970 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

Bringing Community Together Around the Table!
Meals On Wheels by Meals On Wheels @
On August 16, 2017, 200 Sargento employees from throughout the country converged on Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County to spread a slice of goodness in the community.

One of their tasks was to install quilt designs on the fences that were built a couple years ago after the Meals On Wheels vegetable gardens were vandalized.  

“We are laying love over something that wasn’t very kind. The quilts are vibrant, colorful and modern, but reflective of our county’s agricultural history and are being installed by one of our long-time community partners, Sargento Cheese,” said Kelly Heyn, Fresh Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County CEO.

One of Sargento’s intentions was for each of the volunteers to do something that benefits Meals On Wheels clients. So, in addition to installing 28 fence quilts, teams processed 200 pounds of green beans and hundreds of pounds of zucchini, broccoli and carrots; kneaded and rolled more than 300 Sargento Cheese Bread Knots; made hundreds of desserts; weeded gardens; and assembled healthy snack packs, which will be distributed along with Thursdays meals.

“Community outreach is an integral tenet of the Sargento corporate culture, so volunteer opportunities are provided for employees (also known as members of the Sargento family) and business partners,” said Barbara Gannon, vice president of corporate communications and community relations, Sargento Foods Inc.

The volunteers from Sargento represented members of the company’s sales, marketing, R&D and Innovation staff and agency partners. They chatted and worked diligently offering up 400 hours of volunteer time in just two hours.

“We are very blessed and so grateful,” said Heyn.

Fresh Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County continues to lead the way in utilizing fresh fruits and vegetables in homemade, medically-tailored meals. The organization was selected as one of six in the country to participate in Phase 3 of a national More Than A Meal Study, proving that meal delivery and daily visits by volunteers decreases isolation, depression and falls.

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Meals On Wheels by Meals On Wheels @
In March 2010 Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County, Inc. Board of Directors made a momentous decision to change…

That decision resulted in a cascade of surveys, meetings, and studies, which together generated a firm belief that our meals needed to be more than improved – they needed to become FRESH.  This was easier said than done, as no other program had at that point taken the FRESH path.  Sheboygan had the privilege of blazing the FRESH trail, which has since been taken by many other programs in the US and Canada.  Going FRESH had a sobering $3.2 million price tag, a staggering amount for a small non-profit organization. The Board was not intimidated, and work quickly commenced. The result of that hard work, and our community’s generosity, can be seen at 1004 South Taylor Drive in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

The project was supported by:
42 Foundations
413 companies, churches, and service organizations
And 2,642 families and individuals.      

So much kindness!

We are immensely grateful to each of these kind folks – because of them over 200,000 FRESH meals were enjoyed in the comfort of local homes rather than institutions.  

None of the change would have occurred without the kind and generous people of our community.  With their help we have paid off our mortgage well-ahead of schedule, giving us the opportunity to focus almost solely on increasing the number of individuals served in our neighborhoods. Statistics show that we are likely under serving by more than 75%. Census numbers combined with federally prepared statistics show that there are hundreds more in need of our service in this community.  We exist to help them.

NOW, in celebration of our friends’ generosity, and our new UN-debtedness, we’re hosting a mortgage burning ceremony!  We’re sending it up in flames in a way you’ve likely never seen.  On Wednesday August 10, please stop by North Point in Sheboygan at 1:30 p.m., to see the mortgage, attached to an awesome Viking boat, be set afire. Afterwards we are heading to the Yacht Club where you can purchase toasted sandwiches and join us in a toast to this wonderful community.

Can’t get there on Wednesday?  No problem – watch for us in the Brat Day parade Saturday August 6th!

Thank YOU for making this dream a reality, for increasing nutrition among our frailest population and for caring about  your neighbors.
Meals On Wheels by Meals On Wheels @
Drastic changes across the country have caused many meal delivery programs to be kicked to the curb in place of boxed meals delivered on the doorstep in packages that are heavy, hard-to-open and filled with meals that are frozen. That leaves no one to check on the homebound individual, no one to help open a jar of peanut butter or change a light bulb, no one to make sure the heat is working or that there isn’t a gas leak.

“Most importantly, there is no one to make sure your family member has not fallen. That is not acceptable. We care about our neighbors,” said Kelly Heyn, Fresh Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County CEO.

In an effort to advocate for the homebound, disabled and elderly, a crew of 10 from Fresh Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County (MOW) attended the National Meals on Wheels America Conference earlier this month -- a contingent of such size from one program has never before been seen at a Meals on Wheels national event.

The expenses were incurred by one insightful, anonymous benefactor who saw the importance of continuing to build a meal program in Sheboygan County that stands at the forefront of defeating hunger and isolation among the elderly and homebound. The designated funds allowed MOW board and staff to gather all relevant intelligence in order to better serve senior and homebound residents.
Data shared at the convention proves that people who receive Meals On Wheels are healthier, less lonely and have a better quality of life.

In Wisconsin 299,244 seniors are isolated/living alone, 113,289 are threatened by hunger and 314,974 have difficulty paying for basic living needs. Of those surveyed 83 percent say that Meals On Wheels improves their health and 87 percent say that it helps them feel more independent and secure.
It’s a win-win for families and health insurance companies, Heyn said. It costs less to feed a senior Meals On Wheels at home for a year than it does for one day of care in the hospital.

She continued: “This kind of service cannot be replaced by a box dropped on a doorstep. Fresh Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County is more than a meal and we are here to partner with our neighbors to make a difference in the lives of those in our community.”

By sending eight board members to the conference, in addition to two staff, Sheboygan is better poised to manage the significant changes coming to meal programs nationwide.

“It was a very productive week,” said Gerry Van De Kreeke, MOW board president. “Each of us took away items that we can use to better our staff, board members and volunteers. It was also great to see how we look compared to other programs across the country. What we have here in Sheboygan stands out above the crowd.”

MOW is one of the few Meals on Wheels programs across the country that does not have a waiting list
“Sheboygan has a terrific program. You do so much so well. Your gardens and fresh meals obviously is a major stand-out,” said Keith Greene, Meals on Wheels America chief membership officer.

“Having a group similar to what Sheboygan brought (to the national conference) informs and educates the board about the future direction of the Meals on Wheels movement, the successes that have been occurring and the challenges and opportunities the sector faces,” Greene said.

Regular home visits by volunteers are the cornerstone of MOW and over the years countless lives have been saved, said Heyn. Whether it was because someone had fallen and couldn’t get up, or another health emergency, MOW volunteers have made big differences.

Heyn feels confident that by board members attending the conference there is a better understanding of what needs to be done in order to enhance the MOW program.

“The value of a human life does not change as an individual ages. Everyone deserves a warm meal and a friendly visit,” Heyn said.

For more information about Fresh Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County, or to schedule a Thursday tour, please visit or call 920-451-7011.

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Meals On Wheels by Meals On Wheels @
The weather's improved and now it's time to get out around town. A fun way to do this is to go on a scavenger hunt around Sheboygan County searching for oversized silverware.

These three-foot and five-foot metal forks, spoons and knives were created by KP Welding of Sheboygan, and then were embellished by artists of all ages to support Meals On Wheels’ fundraising gala, June-A-Palooza, being held 3-10 p.m. June 27 at Christopher Farm & Gardens, W580 Garton Road, Sheboygan.

This year’s event theme is an equestrian extravaganza resulting in several forks and spoons being designed with a horse motif.

The forks and spoons will be on display until approximately June 22, when they begin to make their way to Christopher Farm and Gardens. A complete listing is can be found at

Bidding on the works of art has already begun. For the first time in Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County’s history, people can bid online using their computers, tablets and smart phones at Thanks to sponsorship from Cellcom, June-A-Palooza onsite bidding will also take place via mobile devices.

“Our staff researched the best way to let the most people have the opportunity to own some of these amazing creations, so our committee decided to give mobile bidding a try. Now people who cannot attend June-A-Palooza due to weddings or other events, can still be in on the fun. We look forward to seeing it in action,” said Kelly Heyn, Meals On Wheels CEO, who reiterated that all of the money raised stays in Sheboygan County to provide fresh and nutritious meals for homebound, elderly and disabled neighbors.

At the event June-A-Palooza co-chairs, Jay W. Christopher of Christopher Farm and Gardens and Ben Salzmann of Acuity, will select their favorite piece of art and award the artist the ‘Royal June-A-Palooza’ prize and $500. Last year’s winner was David Peterman of Greatlakes Airbrush.

The only place to see all the forks in on place will be at June-A-Palooza on June 27 when they will be displayed alongside pathways overlooking the sprawling 440 acre botanical gardens at Christopher Farm & Gardens.

June-A-Palooza is an altruistic gala like no other, filled with music, wine and beer paired with gourmet food, a barrel-aged spirits and wine tasting, and fun for adults. Wade House carriages will be on display, and its historic replica of an 1880 stagecoach will be available for rides. Other activities include a Cowboy/Kentucky Derby-themed photo booth and a ride on a private train through the gardens.

This year’s performers include DJ Dolen and the Bluesers, featuring Mississippi’s PeeWee Hayes, Sheboygan’s own GUMBO, The Grey Beards of Elkhart Lake and Milwaukee’s Front Porch Rockers.
General admission tickets are $100. For more information and to purchase tickets visit or call 920-451-7011.

This event is made possible thanks to its sponsors: ACUITY Charitable Foundation, BMO Harris Bank, Cellcom, Christopher Farm and Gardens, Northwoods, Sargento, Sartori, Sheboygan Chevrolet and Northwoods. Meals On Wheels is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization providing nutritious, home delivered meals to the homebound, elderly and disabled in Sheboygan County.
Meals On Wheels by Meals On Wheels @
The Kentucky Derby has been an all-American tradition since 1875. In fact, it is America’s longest-running major sports event. While it’s known for the horse racing, oversized hats, and pomp and circumstance, it’s really the mint julep that makes the party.

The mint julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. It is best made with fresh mint, fine sugar/simple syrup and a quality bourbon.

When shopping, take note that not all bourbons are created equal, advised Jaclyn Stuart of Vintage Elkhart Lake Wine Shop & Fine Foods. As a sommelier, Stuart had to learn about not only every nuance about wines, but also about bourbons and other spirits.

“Bourbon is really about showing off the flavors of the barrel,” Stuart said. It is the charred, American White Oak barrels that really give bourbon its characteristic color and flavor. “When you take a sip of bourbon, you taste the entire lifetime and history of an oak tree. Many distilleries work very carefully with their coopers – barrel makers – to create a barrel that comes from their chosen forest and has just the right amount of toast.”
Bourbon is a legally-defined type of American whiskey that is made primarily of corn. She explained that in the distillation process, distillers must age their spirits in oak barrels to soften the "bite" of the spirit. Barrel aging adds another dimension of flavor, including oaky notes that our senses perceive as flavors/aromas that resemble caramel, spice, toast, vanilla, nuts or brown sugar.

While all bourbons are whiskeys, not all whiskeys are bourbons. “It can be made anywhere in the United States, but Kentucky is the traditional epicenter for bourbon,” Stuart said. “If you were to put two identical base whiskeys into two very different barrels in the same aging conditions, you would have two very different bourbons.”

When shopping for bourbon, take note of its barrel. Many bottles of bourbon have numbers that indicate how long the spirit was barrel-aged, the higher the number the more years it spent in the barrel. Typically the longer it was in a barrel, the more oaky and smooth it will be.

Also look for characteristics you enjoy, Stuart advised. “Some are smokier than others, some are sweeter, and some are higher in alcohol. As a beginner, I think that looking for something in the middle is great - smooth is key, so look for a lower proof, 80-90 proof is a nice range to start in.”

While prices run the gamut, from $14 to $100 on up – picking those in the midrange is typically a safe bet. Stuart carries a more premium craft bourbon which retails for just over $50.

The barrels used to age bourbon are also re-used to flavor and age drinks such as wine and brandy. The best way to assess these beverages is to taste them. Stuart will be hosting a barrel-aged spirit and wine tasting at June-A-Palooza early in the summer on June 27 at June-A-Palooza, a benefit for Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County (visit for details).

As for this Saturday’s Kentucky Derby party, set up a julep bar complete with a variety of bourbon options, different types of mint, a selection of juices, such as pineapple, lemon or peach, and bitters. People can then mix up their own concoction and experiment with different recipes. Silver derby julep glasses can top it all off.

Jaclyn Stuart can be reached at Vintage Elkhart Lake Wine Shop & Fine Foods. Visit Vintage Elkhart Lake for more information.
Meals On Wheels by Meals On Wheels @
Hoop houses being built at Ebenezer Church, meetings with area educators about how Meals On Wheels can help teach children coming to the gardens, produce donations accepted and processed, repair men for oven hoods and door locks – and then there are the 1,400 meals delivered. All of that – and more – in just one week.

Your Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County is a busy place. Every day decisions are made and work is done, to not only cook nutritious, fresh meals and work with 40+ volunteers to deliver those meals to our clients, but also on ways to improve the service and satisfaction of clients, engage the community, provide nutrition to those who need it most and to maximize every donated dollar.

Having worked with a variety of corporations, non-profits and agencies over the years, I am continually amazed at the high quality of real results that are obtained daily at Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County. The staff truly cares about clients. The volunteers are out of this world with joy, generosity and a giving spirit. And the families of clients truly appreciate the service we are providing.

Every day meals are being tended to, new ways are being researched and/or implemented to increase our growing capacity, and efforts are being made to generate donations and thank supporters of every genre.

The philosophy is that there’s no time to sit and wait, we need to keep moving forward, evolving and thinking outside of the box in order to remain on track for success both now, and in the future, when our children will be old enough to need meals.

If you ever would like to stop by for an inside peek, please give a call. We happily offer tours Thursdays at 1 p.m., just let us know in advance. Our number is 920-451-7011.

You too will be amazed!

Submitted by: Allison Thompson, project coordinator

Meals On Wheels by Meals On Wheels @
Wondering how to be healthy? The following will help you out. It is reprinted with permission from Nutrition Lately.

This year’s theme is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle” which encourages us to eat foods that provide both the nutrients we need and the tastes we love as well as incorporating regular physical activity to achieve our personal health and fitness goals and promote overall health. There are so many ways to do this and below are just a few. Happy NNM!

There are many different ways to “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle.” Here are just a few recommendations:

Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Veggies
Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can give you the energy, fiber, vitamins and minerals needed to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Remember to incorporate a variety of color such as red, orange, green, and purple as well.

Go for Whole Grains
When eating breads, cereals, pastas, crackers, and rice try to make at least half of what you’re consuming WHOLE grains. To be sure check the ingredients list to make sure the word “whole” is included.

Stick to Low-Fat or No-Fat Dairy
Fat-free and low-fat milk contain the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but with FAR fewer calories and fat. If You are lactose intolerant, you can try lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage instead.

Vary Your Protein
Seafood, nuts and beans, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs are all excellent protein sources. Be sure to vary the ways you get your protein by switching it up within these categories. Be sure and try to have a seafood protein twice a week for additional heart-health benefits provided by omega-3s.

Cut Back on the Added Sodium, Sugar, and Fat
Compare foods and choose those with lower numbers for sodium, sugar, and fat. Find healthier alternatives to adding flavor to your food such as seasoning your foods with herbs and spices instead of salt. Switch from solid fats to healthy oils like olive and canola oil. Replace sugary drinks with water and choose fruit for dessert.

Control Your Portions
Always be aware when your eating a meal or snack. Avoid mindless munching that often leads to overeating and unnecessary calorie consumption. Focus on your meals and STOP eating when you are satisfied. Use smaller plates, bowls, and glasses as an added measure.

Be Active
Adults need at least 150 minutes (that’s just 30 minutes a day, five days a week) of moderately intense physical activity each week for most health benefits. So go for a walk, bike, or jog. Go shoot some hoops, throw a pigskin around, just get out and move. No time, you say? It doesn’t all have to be done in one 30-minute chunk. Split your exercise routines into two, 30-minute or three 10-minute segments throughout the day. You can do it!

For more great tips and information on how YOU can “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle” and celebrate National Nutrition Month, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics National Nutrition Month website. Learn more at

by Rob Masterson, RD, CNSC, Nutrition Lately
Twitter @RobMastersonRD
Meals On Wheels by Meals On Wheels @
 Round ‘bout this time of year the squirrel population in our backyard, adjacent to over a hundred acres of woods and fields, starts getting a little out of control. They’re big, tough and possibly condescending (the last may be just my take on the little buggers). They easily run up vertical walls, Mission Impossible-style, and are anti-social. I’ve even seen them attack birds and scare the heck out of people.

The squirrels’, a.k.a. Tree Rats (TR), favorite past-time seems to be hanging out in the Meals On Wheels (MOW) Dumpsters. The garbage and recycling area here is really clean and tidy – Food Service Director Angela and Maintenance Director Randy take pride in keeping things ship-shape – doesn’t matter, the interlopers have turned into true squatters.

TR appear to get a sadistic pleasure in hiding in the Dumpsters and leaping towards the face of the unsuspecting person who is hauling out the trash. (Not surprisingly, taking out the garbage is not a favorite activity at MOW.) To address this problem in the past we have tried a number of things, some at the suggestion of pest control professionals and the Health Department, some being the finest advice available on Pinterest, and some just whatever creative things we could think up ourselves.

So far, we have:

* Applied monster clamps to keep the lids down – The TR removed the clamps and ate through the sides and bottom of the Dumpsters, which are made of plastic.

* Trapped them over the course of a few days, a project taken on by a brave Board member – Did you know that you need to take squirrels at least five miles away, and over a body of water, to reduce the likelihood of them returning? And did you know that even then, they will often still make their way back?? The way you find this out is by applying a tiny amount of paint to critters’ tails before releasing them. If we had continued with this plan, I am convinced the woods would by now be crawling with TR that look like Las Vegas Can-Can dancers.

* Liberally splashed cheap men’s cologne (purchased at the Dollar Store) in and around the Dumpsters, as TR supposedly don’t like these smells – We didn’t like the smells, but it didn’t seem to bother the TR. I wonder what the other woodland creatures think of these “fragrant” squirrels.

*Tried making a noise device – Annoying to humans but not a problem for the intruders.

The most common solution offered up by all sorts of people was shootin’ the TR. A couple of problems with that plan: we are located within the city limits and shootin’ is illegal (but many thanks to the generous shooters who offered to assassinate the Dumpster population and/or borrow us weapons); and there’s also the queasiness factor - we are generally nurturing-type folks and just don’t like the idea of blowing creatures to smithereens at the workplace.

Finally, we found the only thing that reduced the TR population: raccoons. Specifically, pregnant raccoons; apparently during gestation they need a lot of protein and will attack and kill small animals. Our squirrels aren’t small, but neither are our super-sized raccoons. So in a couple of months the momma coons will be dining well. Last year they feasted. Nourishment and nurturing take all forms.

*It’s not quite “The Calla lilies are in bloom again,” and I’m no Katherine Hepburn, but IS a sign of the season.

P.S. To make matters worse, many people illegally trap TR in their backyards and then drop them off here. We know this, thanks to security footage.

Submitted by: Kelly Heyn, Meals On Wheels CEO
Meals On Wheels by Meals On Wheels @
Love Bowls is a simple fundraiser. Buy a stylish bowl. Eat scrumptious soup.

Even after 15 years this annual event, which serves as a benefit for Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County, continues to draw a crowd long before the doors open at 10 a.m.

In its humble beginnings Love Bowl participants were parents and grandparents who lined up to scour the hundreds of handmade bowls to find the one their child/grandchild or loved one made. These bowls had been painted by local artists and students in cooperation with the Sheboygan Area School District; but by 2008, as the crowds grew larger, a new method of bowl-making was needed.

“We had students and artists making bowls year-round and there still weren’t enough bowls,” said Kelly Heyn, CEO of Meals On Wheels.

To help discover a new method of obtaining skillfully crafted bowls that were still handmade, Heyn engaged the help of Judy Guevara. Judy and her husband, Dr. Esteban Guevara, have a second home in Mexico. Judy is an avid collector of Mexican pottery can share tales of how pottery differs in each of Mexico’s regions.

Judy spent months searching for a potter willing to produce enough stoneware for Love Bowls. She ended up driving two hours from her hometown to Dolores Hidalgo in the Mexican state of Guanajuato to find a potter willing to take on the feat.

Guanajuato is an area famous for their Talavera-style pottery, a unique style influenced by the Spaniards. True Talavera is oven baked three times which produces a texture relief in the pattern. The bowls from Dolores Hidalgo are true Talavera. They are single glazed, lead free and food safe. They can go in the washing machine and the microwave. The pieces are available in a variety of colors and patterns, each hand-painted and unique.

Last year Talavera plates were added providing regular patrons with a new way to add to their exquisite collections of these brightly colored pieces which are a great antidote to any gray and cold day.

In addition to the Talavera pieces included with the $20 admission, a silent auction offers an assortment of Mexican hand-crafted art including pewter, glass pitchers, drinking glasses, hanging sacred heart vases and small colorful winged vases. Over 200 pieces are expected to be available for bidding.

February can be a hard month for Wisconsinites. In the middle of winter what better way to brighten sprits than with colorful Mexican art and warm bowls of delicious soup?

See you Feb. 22, 2015, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.!

Submitted by Allison Thompson, project coordinator
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“You provide a vital service.” Those words were on a letter sent to our office recently. While we are happy to say thank you – it’s really our corps of volunteers who make the difference.

They are our person-to-person contact, our eyes and ears. They are the ones who identify when there is a gas leak in a home, if there is a health emergency or if there are unsafe situations. More than once they have helped to save a life simply by being diligent, showing up with a smile and checking in on those who receive meals.

Our volunteers are amazing. I am continually impressed by their cheerfulness, hard work, follow through, patience and longevity of service.

Caroline Rodewald at the 45th Annual Meeting for Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County.In January we had the privilege of recognizing Caroline Rodewald. She was the first person to deliver our meals. Today, 45 years later at the age of 95, she still volunteers at Meals On Wheels. She believes that each of us are all called to help in our community and to give back to others – this is one way she does that. What an inspiration!

We have many different volunteers of all different ages and abilities. Some of the regular volunteer tasks include delivering meals, labeling meal bags, packaging meals, preparing items for dinners, processing produce, watering gardens, harvesting produce, pulling weeds and ongoing building maintenance.

Other volunteer opportunities run the gamut from knitting tree sweaters, carving ornaments and decorating 5-foot forks, to setting up tables for Love Bowls or taking down chairs at June-A-Palooza.

Grant Elementary School students press pulp to make homemade paper with lettuce seeds.We have volunteers who are children making seeded paper or creating holiday cards for clients. We have drivers who range in age from high schoolers to adults who are in their upper 80’s. We have people who help in the office with monthly mailings, birthday cards for clients and packaging donated lap quilts.

The opportunities are endless, and the volunteers tireless. Thank you so much for showing us that giving and helping others is the best way to live our lives. Thank you for showing us that even when it’s -20 degrees outside, delivering a warm meal to someone who cannot easily leave their home takes priority.

We salute each one of you.

God bless.

Submitted by Allison Thompson, project coordinator