SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — The pinch of rising food prices is being felt well beyond the grocery store shelves.
As the cost of eggs, produce and meats continue to rise, Meals on Wheels programs across Wisconsin said they are feeling the impact. Meals on Wheels delivers fresh, homemade meals to seniors in the community, coupled with "friendly visits and safety checks."
Fresh Meals on Wheels of Sheboygan County said it prides itself on making fresh food from scratch. It takes raw ingredients and turns them into a wide variety of recipes for clients across the county.
In the kitchen, Erika Wilharms was mixing ingredients together for an Asian orange salmon dish.
“It just kinda gives you a warm feeling in your heart knowing the clients are well fed with homemade food, nothing processed,” said Wilharms.
While fresh ingredients are something Fresh Meals on Wheels prides itself on, it has begun to cost more to access them. Fresh Meals on Wheels CEO Allison Thompson said ingredient costs were up 50% between 2021 and 2022.
“We were just looking at the cost of eggs which everyone is talking about everywhere I go, and the same for us, it is more than five dollars for a dozen,” said Thompson.
While rising costs haven’t impacted the ability to serve, it has staff and volunteers closely examining the menus they create and food they prepare.
“We are careful about our menus. We do a four week menu that we repeat one time, and every time it is created we look at what the available products are,” said Thompson. “How can we cut it, chop it, dice it, slice it, to make it be economical?”
Throughout the past year, Fresh Meals on Wheels has also dealt with fluctuating fuel prices, which have an impact on volunteers who use their own vehicles to deliver meals.