Warm Hearth has partnered with Millstone Kitchen since 2020 to provide prepared meals to seniors in need on campus. More than 12,391 meals have been delivered to 144 residents at Trolinger and New River House apartments providing nutritious meal options and helping to stretch food dollars for these seniors. Each year, Warm Hearth with the help of the Foundation provides more than $500,000 in support to seniors in the form of meals, housing, healthcare, emergency assistance and more. “I love the meals,” said Sandy Zheng, resident. “I enjoy them immensely and they help me financially.”
Millstone Kitchen is a shared-use commercial kitchen operated by the nonprofit Live, Work, Eat, Grow. Their goal is to provide fresh, made-from-scratch meals to as many food-insecure individuals as possible. The kitchen started partnering with Warm Hearth Village (WHV) in 2020 and has been able to continue the partnership with funding from the Town of Blacksburg’s American Rescue Plan Act. They also work with local catering businesses that use the facility to prepare fresh meals, especially important for those who rely largely on non-perishable items. In addition, they have community partners, such as the YMCA, Newport Community Center, and Christiansburg Parks and Rec, to help distribute the meals.
According to Laina Schneider, the Millstone Kitchen Manager, seniors are particularly impacted by food insecurity, so it’s critical to work with partners like Warm Hearth who are prioritizing their residents’ needs for nutritious food. “After seeing the impact of the meal program during the pandemic and listening to the valuable feedback from our partners that many clients had ongoing need for meals, we mobilized to launch a new iteration that can continue for years. The ongoing commitment from our partners is key to the program’s sustainability. We are working with four small business to prepare meals: Feast & Company, HazelBea Catering, OnSite Culinary, and Thyme & Table Co. They each bring their own creative approach to meal preparation so the menu is new each week,” Schneider said.