FOREST CITY | Sophus Duea has been a regular at Forest City Congregate Meals for the past 14 years.
"It's good food and a good cook," he said, referring to Sue Moklestad, who has prepared the meals for 27 years.
Attendance at the meals, served Mondays through Fridays at the Forest City Senior Center, is usually between eight and 12, according to site manager Kathy Bendickson.
The same meal prepared each day is transported by drivers to those who are on the list for home-delivered meals.
Bendickson said the number of home-delivered meals has grown and is now close to 30, but she would like to see more people at congregate meal because it's a way to get seniors out of the house to meet and talk with others.
"I have fun when I eat with someone and we socialize with each other," she said.
During bitterly cold winter days, some who made a reservation for congregate meals will call in the morning -- particularly if their cars won't start -- to request their meal be delivered instead, according to Bendickson.
She said those who are physically able and have transportation are encouraged to come to the senior center for the meal.
Bendickson said many people mistakenly believe they have to be a member of the Kum Along Club, which meets at the senior center for card games and other activities, to get either Congregate Meals or home-delivered meals.
Kum Along Club members pay $25, which goes toward upkeep of the senior center building.
However, congregate and home-delivered meals are a completely separate program from the Kum Along Club.
The Elderbridge Agency on Aging administers the Congregate Meals program for Forest City and other communities.
The total cost of preparing a meal is $6.25 a plate.
Pricing guidelines from Elderbridge say anyone age 60 or older, as well as his or her spouse and any dependents with disabilities, may contribute what they feel is fair and affordable for them.
For those diners with an annual income below $21,256, a contribution of $3.50 to $5.50 is suggested per meal.
The suggested price for those with an income of $21,256 or more is $6.25.
Bendickson said she advises people to take things such as their out-of-pocket medical expenses into consideration when calculating how much to pay.
Those under age 60, regardless of income level, must pay a flat fee of $6.25 to the site manager.
To make a reservation, call 585-2517 the night before and leave a message indicating you will be at the senior center for the Congregate Meal or that you would like a meal delivered to your home.
Many communities have Congregate Meals for seniors catered, but in Forest City the meals are prepared on site.
"It's a good meal," Bendickson said.