MAPS Nutrition Services Department Assists Seniors Meal Program

MANISTEE — Keri Carlson, director of Manistee Area Public Schools Nutrition Services, got a call Thursday from Sarah Howard, director of the Manistee Area Council on Aging, who needed a helping hand.

Ottawa’s Little River Band Elder Meal Program had asked for help feeding tribal elders at the Aki Center because a staff shortage prevented the group from providing food services on Monday.

Even though Carlson was on vacation, she was happy to step in to coordinate the help needed.

According to Ron Stoneman, MAPS Superintendent, this was just one example of Carlson going above and beyond to help community members.

“Over the past few years, Keri and her team have been challenged to accomplish impressive program changes within the MAPS Nutrition Services department to meet the nutritional needs of students during COVID and the expansion of their services for meals on wheels,” Stoneman said in a press release. “With each request, Keri readily takes on the task at hand, creating comprehensive menu plans, product orders and staff schedules with great skill. MAPS is very fortunate to have Keri leading this people department. dedicated people who always come for our community.

In January 2021, the MAPS Department of Nutrition Services partnered with the Manistee County Council on Aging to help manage food preparation and distribution for the Manistee County Meals on Wheels program.

Beth Joseph, Senior Meals Coordinator for the Manistee County Council on Aging, is instrumental in ensuring meals for seniors are delivered daily to homes and gathering sites.

Carlson and Joseph’s experience navigating this program over the past year has allowed the team to quickly transition to include assistance in serving 60 meals to tribal elders.

“Working together in this successful partnership, we created a nutrition program to support our community, which we were able to expand to the Aki Center – providing assistance until they had the staff in place to resume services” , Carlson said in the statement.

The MAPS Nutrition Services Program also continued take-out services at Manistee Middle High School on Mondays of each week during the summer months. This expansion of the summer feeding program was made possible by a bipartisan bill allowing federal funding to provide meals to all students in the Manistee community.

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