Open Arms of Minnesota

Food for the family, friendship for the soul

From the 2016 Annual Report

Client Charlene and her volunteer meal delivery driver Hugh
Client Charlene and her volunteer
meal delivery driver Hugh

Charlene has a lot on her plate: She has HIV, and she is the primary caregiver for several of her young grandchildren. But thanks to weekly meal deliveries from Open Arms, she doesn’t need to think about getting good nutrition for herself or her dependent grandchildren.

She loves seeing her grandchildren get excited on delivery day as they help the delivery volunteer bring in the food. Charlene keeps her strength up with food from our Latino-inspired menu, full of comforting meals like pork enchiladas with mole rojo.

The kids’ favorites include sloppy joes, lasagna, fresh fruit, and – of course – the made-from-scratch cookies. “The two-year-old likes everything, especially the vegetables in the delivery meals. She’ll pass the meat over just to eat the green beans,” reports Charlene. “And my grandson loves the spaghetti bolognese and the beef stroganoff.”

Charlene particularly appreciates how her grandchildren have learned to overcome their pickiness. “Some of these foods, we’re not a family that cooks that. It’s things they probably never would have touched,” she says. “So they’re learning different types of foods that they wouldn’t normally pick – healthy foods and other cultures’ foods – and that’s important to me,” she says.

The delivery is a highlight of Charlene’s week because her delivery volunteers share some time for conversation. “I’ve been lucky to get some really great delivery people. Especially this latest one, Hugh,” she says. “I’m just so crazy about that gentleman!”

Charlene is touched that Hugh opens up to her about what’s going on in his own life. “I can be kind of down, but he’ll come to the door and it makes it all go away just seeing him,” she says. “I can’t say enough about what a great person Hugh is. He takes time out every week to do these deliveries, and it just moves me that he’s spreading this joy around.

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