Meals on Wheels to celebrate new kitchen

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, December 6, 2017
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Welcome to the Kitchen

WELCOME TO THE KITCHEN – William Boyd, executive chef for the Wise County Committee on Aging Food Service, shows off the new kitchen in Chico. Hot meals will be prepared for delivery to local senior citizens. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

After years of hoping and planning, the Wise County Committee on Aging is celebrating the accomplishment of a longtime goal this week: the opening of its own kitchen.

The WCCA, which might be better known as the local Meals on Wheels, is having a grand opening celebration for the kitchen 3 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The facility is inside the Chico City Hall complex at 400 S. Hovey Street. The kitchen, which once served kids at the old Chico Elementary, will now be used to cook hot meals to be delivered to local senior citizens.

Amy Pegues, executive director of WCCA, said the idea of a local kitchen goes back more than a decade.

“We have been looking at cooking the meals ourselves instead of buying them for at least 15 years. It’s been an off and on thing,” she said. “I’ve talked to board members who served 15 or 20 years ago who have asked me, ‘Do you have that kitchen yet?'”

For years, the meals delivered to local seniors were cooked in south Fort Worth and then brought back to Wise County. With the new kitchen, not only will the meals be hotter and delivered earlier, the quality will be improved as well, according to William Boyd, the executive chef for WCCA Food Service.

Samples of the food that will be delivered to local seniors will be available at Thursday’s celebration.

“We’re going to have little portions so people can come try what we’re serving and see how different it is from what they have been getting,” Boyd said. “Same food, same recipes, completely different taste. The difference is we are going to use more fresh products than cans. It will actually look more appealing.”

Pegues said in addition to the increased quality of the meals, the kitchen will allow less food to go to waste. She said, as an example, if someone calls in advance and says they won’t be at their house during delivery time, perhaps because of a doctor’s appointment, that meal can be kept at the kitchen and frozen for the following week rather than being wasted, which is what happens with the current system.

Having a kitchen could also allow congregate meals at local senior citizens centers. Pegues said if a center would agree to serve meals on a regular basis and provide a meal count in advance, they will provide meals for free.

Congregate meals could also be a way to provide information to seniors, Pegues said. For instance, a meal might include a guest speaker to cover topics such as Medicare, elder law or health screenings.

Pegues said in the future, the kitchen could also host cooking classes for the public or fundraisers for the WCCA.

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