Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What exactly is in the meal?
You will receive a hot food tray and a cold food bag. The hot food tray has an entrée (meat, casserole), a starch (potatoes, pasta, rice), and a vegetable.
The cold food bag contains 2% milk or juice and a slice of bread and butter. In addition, it contains one or more of the following:
a salad (for example, potato salad, green salad, pasta salad, coleslaw)
fruit (apple, banana, orange, fruit cocktail, etc.)
sweet items like cookies, Rice Krispies®, brownies
Q: Who prepares the meal?
Menu selections and portion size are approved by a registered dietitian in accordance with Minnesota Statute 148.624.
Our meals are prepared and packaged by New Horizon Foods in the kitchen at Nokomis Square Cooperative (5015 35th Ave. S.).
Q: Can I request changes or special diet?
Our menus are preset, but we do make substitutions if requested. For example, if you dislike broccoli, we will give you another vegetable. If you cannot eat pork, we will substitute another entrée. We also modify menus to accommodate diabetic, low-salt, and vegetarian diets.
Q: How long can I leave a meal out of the refrigerator?
If your meal has been left unrefrigerated for 4 hours or more, toss it out! Food can spoil very quickly, especially in warm weather.
Every meal comes to you with a date on the hot tray lid and on the cold food bag. If the meal is still in the refrigerator after 4 days, toss it out!
Q: Can I heat my meal in a microwave?
When reheating your meal in a microwave oven, transfer the meal to a microwave-safe dish. Rinse out your used aluminum trays and put them in recycling.
Q: Who will deliver my meal?
Meals are delivered by volunteers from area churches. They have been screened and have passed a Minnesota background check. The persons delivering your meal will vary from week to week, depending on which church is assigned to drive, and may also vary from day to day.
If you wish, the driver will set your meal on a kitchen or dining room table. Otherwise, the driver will not come into your home.
We expect our drivers to be friendly so a brief chat with them is fine. Be mindful, however, that they have a schedule to keep and must be on their way to the next stop.
Q: When will my meal be delivered?
Meals are delivered Monday through Friday over the noon hour (11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.). Delivery times may vary from day to day depending on the number of clients on the route. Weather conditions such as icy roads or heavy rain may delay delivery time. If your meal has not arrived by 1:00 p.m., please call 612-721-5487.
Q: Can I get meals on the weekend?
You may also order meals for Saturday and Sunday. Weekend meals are delivered on Friday, along with the regular Friday meal. The weekend food in the aluminum trays has been cooked but will be cold and must be reheated.
The aluminum tray may be put in a regular oven. However, if you use a microwave oven to heat the meal, you must transfer the food to a microwave-safe dish.
Q: Can I get meals on holidays?
Unless notified otherwise, meals are not delivered on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
Q: What if I want my meal delivered to a door other than the front door of my house?
Let us know if you have special instructions for the driver. For example, you may want the driver to bring the meal to the back door or to knock loudly.
Q: What if I live in an apartment building?
If you live in an apartment building with a security system, please let us know how to reach you.
Q: Will my food be delivered when there’s bad weather?
For the safety of our drivers, we will cancel delivery if there is a snowstorm or other bad weather. Our staff will call you if South Minneapolis Meals on Wheels has cancelled delivery. You will not be charged for a meal that day.
Each fall our program provides a “Blizzard Box” to each client. It contains two emergency meals to be used in the event that bad weather prevents delivery of your regular noontime meal.
Q: What if I know ahead of time that I won’t be home to accept a meal?
PLEASE CALL the program coordinator (612-721-5487) if you will not be home to accept a meal. If there is no prearranged way (such as a cooler) to leave the meal safely, the driver will take the meal with him or her and you will be charged for the meal. Drivers will not leave your meal with a neighbor unless instructed to do so. If you live in an apartment building with a security system and the driver cannot get in, he or she will take the meal and you will be charged for it.
To be on the safe side (and avoid having to pay for a meal you do not get or do not want), please try to notify the coordinator 48 hours prior to the day you will not be home or don’t want the meal. For example, if you have an appointment over the noon hour on Thursday, call the coordinator by Tuesday. Again, if we do not receive notice of cancellation, you or your insurance will be charged for the meal.
Q: What if I’m not home at the time of delivery?
If you will not be home over the noon hour, but would still like your meal, please leave a note for the driver and provide a safe place to leave the meal (such as in a cooler or in an enclosed porch). Also, leave a note if you might be late returning from an appointment.
Q: What if I don’t want to answer the door when the driver arrives?
If you prefer not to answer the door when the driver arrives, please sign our “Client Permission to Leave Meal” form, and we will notify the driver to put your meal in a cooler or other safe place. If you do not have a cooler, South Minneapolis Meals on Wheels will help you get one.
We prefer not to leave meals wedged between an outside door and a front door. (Squirrels and other animals might eat your meal. If the weather is hot, the meal might spoil quickly.) We also prefer not to leave a meal in a hallway outside an apartment. (This might alert someone that you are not at home.)
If you leave a note for the driver, please make it as inconspicuous as possible. A large sign on your door may alert someone that a vulnerable person lives at your address. Special instructions about delivery can be printed on the driver’s route card.
Q: What if I’m not home but don’t leave a note?
Our drivers make every effort to deliver your meal. A meal is considered undeliverable if no one answers the door or if arrangements to leave the meal have not been made. The driver will dispose of the meal and inform the program coordinator that the delivery could not be made.
The coordinator will try to contact you or your emergency contact if your meal is undeliverable. We want to know that you are all right!
You may be charged for an undeliverable meal.
Q: What should I do if I have a complaint?
If you have a complaint about the food or delivery, please let us know. Call, for example, if the food is not according to your dietary restrictions, the food is cold when you get it, the portion size is too small, you are getting white bread when you requested wheat bread.
Q: What should I do if I have a complement?
If there’s something you especially like about the food or the drivers, please let us know that, too. We aim to please our clients and improve our program! Call 612-721-5487.
Q: What if I want to stop Meals on Wheels delivery altogether?
If you wish to stop meal delivery altogether, please notify the coordinator 48 hours prior to the day you wish to receive your last meal.
If you decide to stop receiving Meals on Wheels, we will send you an exit survey. We’d like to know why you no longer want or need our service. Your responses will help us make our program better.