Open Arms of Minnesota

Open Arms Set To Deliver 10 Millionth Meal

Open Arms of Minnesota will deliver its 10 millionth meal in Saint Paul Coinciding with a kitchen expansion to the Capital City Critical call: “Help us open our arms wider to those in need”

May 26, 2022

(Minneapolis) Open Arms of Minnesota met a need 36 years ago when its founder, Bill Rowe, prepared and served nourishing meals to a group of neighbors who suffered from critical illnesses. In two weeks, the nonprofit operation will prepare and deliver its 10 millionth meal free of charge to a client living in Saint Paul with a critical illness. “We serve a critical need in this region,” said Leah Hébert Welles, Open Arms CEO. “No one else offers prepared, preservative free, medically tailored meals at no charge to the recipient.  And the requests for our meals have only grown so that we are now shipping frozen meals to Greater Minnesota, and we plan to expand into western Wisconsin.” 

The special 10 millionth meal details
Tuesday, June 7
Photo opportunity — Best time at 11 a.m.
Franco, age 68, will receive the meal delivery at the entrance to his apartment.
200 10th Street East, Unit #409
Lowertown Saint Paul

Open Arms client Franco will receive the special 10 millionth meal from two of his steady volunteer drivers with whom he has developed a friendship throughout the long months of his illness.  Also on hand will be members of Franco’s Open Arms care team, and supporters.  The milestone delivery would never have been reached without the legions of volunteers that prepare and deliver meals to their fellow neighbors and citizens. 

Expansion to Runway 52 near Holman Field Airport in Saint Paul
Open Arms will open a second kitchen in Saint Paul, in the Runway 52 building at 380 East Lafayette Frontage Road, to serve as the base of operations for its medically-tailored frozen meal production.  The nonprofit began shipping frozen meals to Greater Minnesota in 2020 to rave reviews from clients, their caregivers, and families.  

“Open Arms has been a lifeline for me because I don’t have to worry about where my next meal is coming from,” said Tristian of East Grand Forks, who has been living with HIV since 2015.  “I have meals in my freezer right now and they even gave me a microwave, so I can once again cook great meals for myself.  It’s made me feel better and improved my self-esteem knowing that I can pull out an Open Arms meal from the freezer and make it for myself.”  

Current plans would have the Runway 52 location open and operating by October 2022.  With the second kitchen in Saint Paul, Open Arms expects to increase their capacity to prepare and deliver approximately 30K additional meals per week. 

Giving campaign to help nonprofit open their arms wider to those in need
Open Arms of Minnesota will be asking the community to help them raise the final 40% of $6.6 million needed to cover their expansion costs.  Significant corporate support from Securian,    CH Robinson, Schulze Foundation, Andersen Windows and Bigelow Foundation plus many more have enabled Open Arms to reach beyond the 60% mark and begin construction at  Runway 52. 

What makes Open Arms stand out?
“At Open Arms, we believe that food is medicine, and there’s always room for one more at our table,” said Bonnie Alton, Open Arms volunteer board member and owner of Great Harvest Bread Company. Open Arms operates from its South Minneapolis kitchen, a state-of-the- art, 2100 square foot center in the heart of the Philips Neighborhood, 2500 Bloomington Avenue.  Registered dietitians and in-house chefs create delicious, medically tailored menus using fresh and organic ingredients whenever possible, including produce harvested from one of five Open Arms urban farms. 

Here’s a sample of meals offered:

  • Heart Healthy:  low in salt and saturated fats
  • Kidney Friendly/Renal:  tailored to clients on hemodialysis
  • Flavor Neutral:  low in spice and acid
  • Vegetarian:  menu that excludes meat, poultry, and fish.
  • Gluten & Dairy Friendly: tailored to clients who avoid gluten and dairy due to allergies or intolerance. 

Special Touches make the magic:

  • Nutritional support and counseling provided by registered dieticians.
  • Additional meals provided for caregivers and dependent children.
  • A holiday meal in November.
  • Birthday cakes delivered around clients’ special day.
  • Add-ons such as nausea care packs for those experiencing nausea/vomiting due to their illness or treatment.

Looking ahead to projected growth numbers:

  • By April, 2023, 
  • Open Arms will serve over 4,000 clients from the Minneapolis and Saint Paul kitchens and prepare at least 1.3 million meals per year (10% increase) 
  • Produce/ship 200,000 meals for clients in greater Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. 
  • By April 2024, Open Arms will serve 4,500 clients and prepare at least 1.5 million meals per year 
  • Add 1,200 volunteers to their service corps
  • By April 2025, Open Arms will serve 1.6 million meals per year
  • Add 1,200 volunteers to their service corps

At Open Arms, there’s always room for one more at our table.

Our Mission: By providing food as medicine, we nourish our clients and build community.

Read more about Open Arms story and timeline.

And if you like numbers, here are the details on the impact we are making every year.

Complete Press Release (PDF Version)

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Your Gift Will Help Us Serve More Clients!

Together we can continue to meet the increased demand for medically tailored meals with your support! We hope you think of us as you consider your year-end giving. Your donation is a gift of care, compassion, and encouragement!