resources that meet community needs
families about leaving a legacy
organizations and causes that improve lives
in the future of Polk and Burnett counties
Cooked2Serve program benefits families, restaurants and farmers.
Although Burnett and Polk Counties are home to several food shelves and distribution programs, many families with school-age children continue to have difficulty putting enough food on the table. At the same time, as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, our local restaurants have struggled to maintain their businesses and keep their staff working.
After reading about how larger communities reacted to food insecurities due to COVID-19 constraints, Mark and Nancy Buley developed a smaller scale plan called Cooked2Serve that sourced ready-to-heat, frozen meals from local restaurants and delivered them to schools to supplement support programs for students and families in need. In addition, these businesses purchase much of their food from local farmers, thus expanding Cooked2Serve support to farmers and businesses.
A pilot program began in partnership with The Farm Table Foundation in Amery, and Cafe Wren and the Natural Alternative Food Coop in Luck, businesses that were already set up with to-go-foods including frozen soups and meals that were packaged, labeled and ready to be distributed. To date, 198 quarts of frozen soup and chili, 124 take-and-reheat entrees, 80 frozen pizzas, 24 boxes each of spaghetti, pasta sauce, macaroni and cheese and 60 packs of cookies have been delivered to Frederic Schools.
“It’s all about making sure kids have equity in opportunity,” said Erin Hansford, Frederic 6-12 Principal. “Students can’t learn if they are hungry. In addition to helping provide food for families with children, we particularly focus on our students who are living independently – and there are many. Cooked2Serve frozen meals are great because they just need to be heated.”
Frederic schools forwarded an email from a recipient of the meals that described job loss, a family with two teenage boys, and how they struggle to put healthy meals on the table. “The BEST community help we have received has been the recent gift of prepared soups and entrees from Cafe Wren and Farm Table through the Frederic school. Healthy, hearty, and delicious. We are so grateful.”
Mark Buley, a board member of the Northwest Alliance Community Foundation (NACF), approached the Foundation with the idea that NACF create a fund, capable of receiving donations from the public, to support Cooked2Serve and its possible expansion to other school districts. The board agreed that it fits well with the NACF mission to nurture the strength and well-being of our community by offering guidance and providing resources that support positive solutions.
NACF has established the Cooked2Serve Fund through its parent agency, the St. Croix Valley Foundation. Donations may be made online at https://nacommunityfoundation.org/ or by mailing a check to the Northwest Alliance Community Foundation, PO Box 111, Frederic, WI 54837.
(The above photos were provided by Cooked2Serve.)