The Salem County NJ organizations will combine resources to provide meals for area seniors, “delivering food, culture, and care together”
Meals on Wheels of Salem County and Appel Farm Arts & Music Campus have announced that they will partner to combine resources that serve both organizations’ missions in Salem County, NJ.
The partnership supports the infrastructure of each organization by leveraging assets and resources for cost-savings and income generation that will contribute to each group’s sustainability. Meal creation – the cornerstone of the Meals on Wheels program – will now be provided under the leadership of the onsite chef at Appel Farm Arts Camp. Meals on Wheels administrative offices will soon relocate to Appel Farm Arts & Music Campus at 457 Shirley Road, Elmer NJ.
“Both Meals on Wheels and Appel Farm are dedicated to delivering critical support to people in Salem County,” said Meals on Wheels Executive Director Carly Melchert. “During these challenging times, the most vulnerable members of our community need all the support that we can provide. This alliance gives us both more financial stability, which directly helps us both make more impact. By ‘delivering together,’ we will have the opportunity to touch and enhance more lives in our region.”
Meals on Wheels of Salem County delivers nearly 40,000 hot, nutritious meals annually to home-bound elderly and disabled residents. Each year, area volunteers donate more than 5,000 hours of time and travel 62,000 miles to bring meals and the comfort of friendship to those in need.
Appel Farm Arts & Music Campus provides people of all ages, cultures and economic backgrounds with arts & learning experiences in South Jersey. The summer Appel Farm Arts Camp and year-round Creative Collaboratory Charter School at Appel Farm provide youth with an enriching arts education experience in a rural setting, including a farm-to-table connection to nutritious meals supported by onsite agriculture learning on their working farm.
“Food is culture,” said Cori Solomon, Executive Director of Appel Farm Arts & Music Campus. “Our mission to provide transformative arts learning experiences always includes food. It’s a unifying cultural factor in delivering meaningful caring experiences. Now, more than ever, we all need to be innovative in our approaches to helping those who need the most care. This ‘food, culture, and care’ partnership expands the reach of our mission while providing for a critical need in our community at the same time.”
The partnership will include the sharing of infrastructure such as office space, professional accounting staff, utilities, and food storage facilities. In addition, meal creation will be fulfilled by Appel Farm through its onsite food services under the leadership of Head Chef, Danielle Walkden.
The overlap to Appel Farm Arts Camp’s agricultural learning program will provide farm-to-table fresh produce for high-quality nutritious meal creation, which has been a request of Meals on Wheels clients, that can now be more accessible through this partnership. The year-round expansion of kitchen services will also provide a foundation for the potential development of a culinary arts program for youth.
“Students in all of our programs will see first-hand how agriculture is connected to our food and how it can connect us to others,” said Solomon. “Young people will be exposed to the importance of volunteerism and intergenerational connections too.”
All daily operations of Meals on Wheels, including volunteer coordination for meal delivery will still be managed by Meals on Wheels’ experienced staff.
“The experience of our volunteers they serve will only be enhanced by this partnership,” said Melchert. “Our dedication to running an effective and impactful organization will continue as always. The added ingredients of arts, culture and intergenerational learning can only make our outreach more meaningful.”