Meals on Wheels Now Delivering to Farmlands, Nets $110K – Chicago Tribune

The 22nd annual Meals on Wheels NWI Dine with the Chefs Gala featured many reasons to celebrate the success of this cornerstone of our community organization.

Presented at Avalon Manor in Hobart last Sunday, March 5, this important charity dinner saw 368 guests dine and cheer for a non-profit organization and raise money for those in need.

“We raised over $75,000 last year in 2022, and over $110,000 this year for the 2023 event,” said Jodi Bella, Director of Business Development for Meals on Wheels. NWI.

As has been the tradition for twenty years, a list of top chefs working hard in the area served, cooked and prepared six delicious dinners for those gathered for this great cause. The idea for the annual gala dinner began in 2001 with Arlene Jawor, then director of community relations for Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana. (which began as a volunteer in 1978), the latter working with former executive director Margot Clark. who attended last Sunday and founded Meals on Wheels NWI with others in July 1977.


Based in Merrillville, Meals on Wheels NWI is led by Executive Director Sandra Noe, who has been with the organization for an incredible 37 years to lead year after year of success and expansion.

On Sunday, Noe not only delivered the loving and important message that the mission still needs more volunteers for drivers and delivery workers ( or call 219-756-3663) but he also announced that he announced that. I arrive at the small town of San Pierre.

NWI’s Meals on Wheels is currently serving ages 3 and up throughout Lake, Porter, Newton, LaPorte and Jasper with meals for $5.99 each, bill at the end of the month. Noe shared the exciting news that rural Starke County, where the family farm is located, as well as Pulaski County, will soon be adding to customer deliveries.

“Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana serves seven regional meals, more than 2,000 meals a day, including hot meals, cold dinners and frozen meals, ” said Noah.

“We deliver to our customers’ homes, gathering places, adult gatherings and daycares. The impact continues to grow, due to COVID, which has pushed us to produce good frozen food. Next year you will hear how frozen food has become our answer to bringing food to our neighbors, the farmers who put food on our table, but have barriers to access their homes. . COVID has also made us realize the need for healthy food to meet the needs of our neighbors who suffer with many diseases, which require special nutrient-dense foods. We are now the only health food provider in Indiana. “

As for the culinary power behind creating these nutritious, delicious, and portable meals, Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana Executive Chef Keith Peffers has been at the helm for two years, and is also responsible for charting a new kitchen path for food. I’ve known him since his old days managing dining services at the Purdue University Northwest Westville campus and he’s been featured reliably in the brochures I’ve published. He led a who’s who of culinary creative chefs who served delicious food on Sunday.

And for “just for dessert,” a toothsome purse was purchased during the auction portion of the event and two trays of fresh-baked cookies were set aside for spending. ball.

The two trays of 2 dozen cookies, one tray of “Tuxedo Cookies” and the other, snickerdoodles, won $2,000 each! Christine Venhuizen and Lynda Levin were the generous pair of cakes made by students at the Hammond Area Career Center under the direction of Chef Darrik Tucker.

Grilled octopus, served with Mexican street elote and chili butter, was among the exotic dishes served at the NWI's annual Dinner on Wheels with Chefs Dinner Gala on Sunday 3 March 2023.

The Sunday menu started with a variety of dishes such as smoked pork belly, grilled octopus and chicken empanadas. Soups are a choice of hearty roast beef or velvety beef, farro and mushroom soup. Accompanying salads featured mixed greens tossed with roasted beets, goat cheese and grapefruit or spring greens with walnuts, exotic citrus and pomegranate with raspberry vinaigrette.

Next, the fish course offered salmon baked in a cream sauce garnished with asparagus spears before the main course of roasted pork medallions with apple bourbon demi-sauce served with Yukon gold herb mashed potatoes and vegetable medley. Desserts featured a variety of rich and delicious white and dark chocolates.

Chef Peffers’ sweet and hearty soup recipe caught my attention and interest, especially since it includes the ingredient farro, which is not as familiar to me as regular rice. But it is the opposite of new, in fact, it is old.

Touted to be healthier than rice, and in my opinion, similar to barley, Good Housekeeping magazine’s test kitchen describes farro as “a protein and fiber-rich grain that has ancient roots and is rich in nutrients and minerals and antioxidants. This seed was originally found in Mesopotamia. A longtime staple in Europe (especially Italy) for decades, it’s gaining traction in the states with carnivores and families looking for an easy weeknight meal. It has a mild flavor and a sweet texture, which makes it perfect for risottos, soups, stews, casseroles and sautés.

Journalist Philip Potempa has published four cookbooks and is the director of marketing for Theater at the Center. Can be connected to [email protected] or send your inquiry to: From the Farm, PO Box 68, San Pierre, Ind. 46374.

Serves 10

2 pounds chuck roast or ground beef, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups shredded carrots (about 3 carrots)

1 cup chopped celery (about 2 tablespoons)

2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 1 large)

2 pounds chopped fresh mushrooms (cremini, shiitake and oyster work well)

2 cans (each 32 ounces) broth

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup ground farro

Chopped parsley for garnish


1. Heat a small pan over medium heat, add oil and brown beef.

2. Add onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms, stirring occasionally until the onions soften.

3. Mix the beef soup, add spices, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the beef is tender.

4. While soup is simmering, preheat oven to 350 degrees and add farro to soup for 10 minutes, stirring, 10 more minutes.

5. Add the farro to the soup and simmer for 20 minutes.

6. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.