Lincoln Medical Center has a lot on its plate now that the amount of meals it provides for Christian Ministry has doubled.
Jenny Walling / Lincoln Times-News
“No one else in Lincoln County is capable of doing this number of meals at this quality,” said Mitzi Williams, the coordinator of LINC Meals.
LINC Meals, part of Christian Ministry, provides more than 100 Lincoln County residents with hot lunches Monday through Friday.
Prior to March, the hospital provided 50 meals each day. The other half of the meals were cooked by churches and nursing homes. LMC now provides all the meals.
Teresa Watson, vice president of administration at LMC, at first thought the hospital would have to hire additional staff to get the job done, but she soon found she had been mistaken.
“Our nutritional services team is so impressed with this program that they agreed that an additional hire was unnecessary,” said Watson.
In fact, preparing the extra 50 meals each day takes the nutritional staff a mere 30 minutes.
“We all just work together,” said Carla Adams, a supervisor in LMCâ€™s kitchen. “This is a good team.”
Lincoln County residents who receive the meals cannot prepare hot, balanced meals themselves. Many are elderly, although some are as young as 35.
Each meal costs the recipients $2.50, but those who cannot afford the meals receive sponsorship. Around half of the meals are paid for by sponsors. No one in need gets turned away from the program.
John Hallman has received the meals since he got out of the hospital.
“The foodâ€™s good, and it helps me,” said Hallman. “I look forward to it.”
For many recipients, the only person they see during the day is the one giving them their meal.
In that way, LINC Meals also makes it possible for the elderly and invalid to be checked on during work days.
“They are so happy to see someone,” said Williams. “A lot of times our face is the only face they see.”
All the LINC Meals are nutritiously prepared with the recipient in mind. Diabetic people have specially made meals. Those who donâ€™t like spaghetti can request an alternative.
“They let us know what they like and donâ€™t like,” said Adams.
Bryte Lutz enjoys nearly every meal, although sometimes she feels the salt-free food needs a little kick and applies thousand island dressing.
Before the volunteers come to her house with the food she makes sure to put on her makeup.
“I donâ€™t want to look like a corpse before I am one,” she said.
Those who take food to Lutzâ€™s house have become used to her insisting on giving them a treat.
“Ms. Lutz tries to spoil us,” said Sue Houser, a volunteer. “She always tries to give us something to eat.”
Around 250 volunteers make LINC Meals possible. Some have been volunteering for many years.
Paul and Geneva Engle started packing meals and delivering food 22 years ago.
“Iâ€™ve enjoyed every bit of it,” said Engle. “It helps people who canâ€™t help themselves.”
Staff Writer Sarah Grano can be reached at 704-735-3031 or firstname.lastname@example.org Sarah Grano