Special delivery: Cabarrus Meals on Wheels celebrates new home

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Steve Huffman
KANNAPOLIS ó Jewel Teal has been served by Cabarrus Meals on Wheels for upwards of eight years, her lunches delivered by friendly volunteers.
On Tuesday, Teal was one of several people who visited the Meals on Wheels headquarters in Kannapolis for a ribbon cutting for the new facility.
Teal laughed that the building at 1701 S. Main St. was formerly the home of String Beans, a restaurant. She said that when her daughter picked her up to take her to church, they’d often stop afterwards at String Beans for Sunday lunch.
“I said, ‘I used to eat there,’ ” Teal said. “Now they’re delivering me meals.”
Everyone involved with Cabarrus Meals on Wheels seemed excited Tuesday as they celebrated the opening of the new facility. Local dignitaries were on hand and a ribbon cutting was held.
But Kimberly Strong, executive director of Meals on Wheels, said the strong suit of the new facility will be the ongoing positive effect it will have on the nonprofit agency.
She said Meals on Wheels had previously operated out of an office in Concord. About 200 of the 360 meals that volunteers deliver on a daily basis were prepared at a local hospital. The other meals were catered by area restaurants.
Getting all the meals to the Concord office where volunteers picked them up was a problem, Strong said.
She said someone had to drive to the hospital to get them, then return to the Meals on Wheels headquarters. Meals prepared at local restaurants also had to be delivered to the organization’s office.
That won’t be the case with the new Kannapolis facility. Meals can be both prepared at and delivered from the South Main Street site. Since the building previously housed a restaurant, most of the cooking equipment was already in place when Meals on Wheels leased the facility.
Meals on Wheels has hired a kitchen manager and two other staffers to prepare the food on a daily basis.
“It’s much easier serving everything out of here,” Strong said. “And the location is much more central than where we were at before.”
She said more than 600 volunteers assure the success of Meals on Wheels. A good number of those volunteers turned out for Tuesday’s festivities where everything from punch to cookies and cake were served.
“This is our grand opening,” Strong said. “Here we are, we’re so excited to be here.”
Karin Allen, case manager for Meals on Wheels, agreed that the move to the Kannapolis location was a good thing for everyone.
“We’re saving money, plus we’ve got better control of our food and better quality food,” she said. “Everyone wins.”