St. Croix Tribal Aging Unit Updates

     We’ve jumped right into 2016, and we’re chefin’ it up in our kitchens! The Elder Nutrition Program continues to serve family-style, nutritious meals to tribal elders and non-tribal elders daily at our Elder Nutrition Centers in Danbury and Sand Lake. In 2016, we served over 13,600 meals to elders in our communities. This is over 1,700 additional meals than we served in 2015! So far this year in January we served a total of 1,062 meals. We are reaching more of our elders and striving to keep them healthy and happy.

     We also wanted to spread the word about our meal program and answer some questions that have been asked recently. One question is, “What is the Elder Nutrition Program and who can participate?” The St. Croix Tribal Aging Unit is able to provide flavorful, nutritious meals to elders within our community through two grants. Title III is our state grant which allows us to serve tribal members and non-tribal members who are 60 years and over and who are within our service. We also receive Title VI funding from the federal government which allows us to provide meals to tribal elders ages 55+.

     Recently, I was sitting down with a tribal elder. He seemed concerned and explained to me, “I don’t understand why some elders are charged for their meals, but others are not. This doesn’t make sense to me.” I’m happy that this topic came up because I’m sure other elders have the same curiosities. The St. Croix Tribe follows the age guidelines set forth by our federal and state grantors. Both grantors require the St. Croix Elder Nutrition Program to allow each elder to contribute to the cost of their meal in accordance with the Older Americans Act of 1965. The goal of this policy is to ensure that elders have every opportunity to contribute meaningfully to their communities. Meals are free to all elders who are 60 years of age or older, and they are very welcomed to donate if they wish. Meals are also provided on a donation basis to Tribal Members ages 55 to 59. The suggested donation is $2.50 however; we will not deny any eligible elder a meal if they are unable to donate. Non-Tribal Members under 60 years and Tribal Members under 55 are considered guests and must pay the full cost of the meal ($5.00). This is a grant requirement.

     If you’ve signed up for the program in the past and are not sure if you are still enrolled, visit us or give us a call and we’ll get you set up. We love seeing new faces! If you are not a regular diner, we ask for a one-day notice/reservation so that we can ensure we prepare the right amount of meals each day. You can do this by calling our Nutrition Center staff before 1 p.m. the day before and letting them know you would like to dine. We do understand that life isn’t always organized, so we strive to accommodate all elders. If you’ve never signed up, joining is simple! Elders can sign up for these services by calling or visiting one of our nutrition centers. Elders can also enroll by calling the St. Croix Tribal Aging Unit office at (800) 236-2195 Ext 5116. As always, if you have any questions, comments, suggestions, want to see something new on the menu, or just want to chat, please feel free to give me a call.