Meals on Wheels, retro foods, more

Hamel VFW looks forward on its 50th

The Heinzen Ditter Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Hamel is celebrating its 50th anniversary by finding new ways to put its resources and building to use.

One way is a new Meals on Wheels program targeted mostly but not exclusively to veterans.

Caterer Jill Michel explores food possibilities in the kitchen at the Hamel VFW post. She and the VFW are gearing up for Meals on Wheels service, retro food offerings, catering for business and groups and other activities to raise money and create opportunities for veterans. (Photo by Susan Van Cleaf)

Caterer Jill Michel explores food possibilities in the kitchen at the Hamel VFW post. She and the VFW are gearing up for Meals on Wheels service, retro food offerings, catering for business and groups and other activities to raise money and create opportunities for veterans. (Photo by Susan Van Cleaf)

Another is inviting anyone who has a yen for retro food from 1962 to eat at the VFW, pay a retro price and listen to live 1960s music. Jill Michel, who caters for the VFW, is excited about a menu featuring items such as sliders, root beer floats and malts.

Michel is asking people to call or e-mail her to request information about Meals on Wheels and opportunities to get retro or other food at the VFW. She can be reached at 952-217-1202 and jill.michel@ymail.com.

The VFW already has a contract for Meals on Wheels (MOW) and is planning to begin deliveries Monday, Oct. 1. Michel is ready to go with drivers, two trucks and experience in doing MOW in Hopkins and St. Louis Park (along with restaurant and catering experience). She says people can call her or e-mail her anytime starting now, so she can create menus and delivery schedules specifically for a meal recipient. She is willing to drop off forms at people’s homes, so they can check off what they want and when. Foods for people with special diets are available.

Jill Michel shows off the bar at the Hamel Veterans of Foreign Wars post. The VFW has spruced up its interior to celebrate its first 50 years and make it attractive for anyone who wants to stop in and experience its new menus and atmosphere. (Susan Van Cleaf)

Jill Michel shows off the bar at the Hamel Veterans of Foreign Wars post. The VFW has spruced up its interior to celebrate its first 50 years and make it attractive for anyone who wants to stop in and experience its new menus and atmosphere. (Susan Van Cleaf)

“I want to make this as easy and accommodating as possible for veterans as I can, no matter what time of the year or holiday,” she said. While her chief focus is helping vets, “I am absolutely open to serving both veterans and seniors.”

Michel is putting together menus and coming up with meal prices intended to be affordable for vets — both through Meals on Wheels and at the VFW building itself. The Hamel VFW is located at 19020 Hamel Road on the Hamel/Plymouth border. Vets can eat at the VFW, arrange for someone to pick up meals there or arrange for MOW service.

Michel is willing to drive to wherever a hungry veteran is located. “I want this niche,” Michel said. “I want to help every veteran if they need it.”

What if her MOW drivers end up traveling all over the place to reach patrons?

“I would love to have that problem,” she said, adding that she is equipped for the task. She has hot boxes and trucks toting equipment to keep cold food cold and hot food hot.

Drivers will be willing to set up food at the table, so all an MOW patron has to do is pick up a knife and fork and chow down.

Friday deliveries can include food bags for the weekend. Some of it is pre-frozen, and all the MOW recipient has to do is heat it up in a microwave. “They’re being taken care of that Friday for the weekend,” Michel said.

Vets who want to have guests for brunch, lunch, dinner, the holidays or a picnic can ask the VFW to deliver foods of their choice. Food will come at special pricing for vets.

The Hamel VFW will be looking back over its 50 years, but post leadership is giving much thought to the future. In anticipation, the post has spruced up its insides with paint, new tables and chairs and more. The result is a brighter, more inviting indoor setting.

“We’re trying to create business there to support the VFW and veterans,” Michel said. “This building can support financially people who can really use it.”

So the post is creating menus and food attractive to businesses, organizations and families planning catered occasions either at the Hamel VFW or at locations of their choice. Anyone who utilizes the VFW for catered events in or outside of the building will help to support the VFW post and veterans.

“I can do whatever they need for an event,” she said, explaining that she has been in the restaurant business for 35 years. During that time she has worked on events with as many as 700 people attending. Menu information is available on her web site at www.allabouttasteinc.com.

And the VFW is exploring ways to reach out to vets — recent and older.

“The VFW is looking for new networking ideas that would enable vets to interact personally and professionally,” Michel said. Possibilities are networking meetings or groups, and topics might be jobs or much more.

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