LARIMORE, N.D. – Three sisters in Larimore are working to make Good Friends a great neighbor to the town’s seniors.

Emily Miller, Sarah Kallock and Rachel Neitzel, owners of the bar and cafe on Towner Avenue, Larimore’s main street, began offering senior meals in October. The town had been without a senior meal contract for a few years, and the sisters thought that, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, several of Larimore’s older residents would benefit from picking up hot food or having it delivered to their doors.

Good Friends has a senior meal contract with the Grand Forks Senior Center. The federal program is run through the Older Americans Act, which funds services designed to keep older adults healthy and independent.

"It's been quite a while since we've had senior meals in Larimore," said Collette Iseminger, Grand Forks Senior Center executive director. "We've been carting frozen meals out there for people who needed them. I'm glad people can get a hot meal. That’s great."

The sisters’ goal was to serve 14 meals a day. They figured if they got that many seniors signed up, they could make it work with the cafe schedule and that it would be cost-effective so they could pay their cook for the extra time she would spend cooking the senior meals.

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The cafe also is open from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday for breakfast and lunch, on Saturdays from 7 to 11 a.m. for breakfast, and three evenings a week for dinner. The bar also is open until 10 p.m. seven days a week.

Miller, Kallock and Neitzel took over management of it after their father, Terry Trosen, died in 2018.

Miller, who graduated from Larimore High School in 2008, began working for her dad in the cafe at age 12, first washing dishes and waitressing, then learning to cook. She helps out with the cafe, cooking in a pinch. She also manages the senior meal program, which involves sending menus to seniors, taking breakfast and lunch orders and coordinating deliveries.

Good Friends more than tripled its goal of 14 senior meal sign-ups.

“We’re averaging 45 to 50,” Miller said. “It's definitely going really good.”

"They are just going gangbusters out there," Iseminger said.

The seniors can choose breakfast, lunch or both. They can eat their meals in the cafe or have them delivered to their homes.

The Good Friends cook prepares the meals, which must meet specified nutritional standards, and Miller helps dish them up in to-go containers. The containers are placed in insulated bags so they stay warm.

Though senior meals typically are made and delivered Monday through Friday, on Thanksgiving Good Friends cooked about 30 traditional holiday meals: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and dessert. Renew Church of the Nazarene in Larimore raised funds to pay for the meals, and volunteers delivered them.

Miller is part of a crew of volunteers who deliver senior meals Monday through Friday. One of the volunteers is Rose Clapp, whose children – Isabella, 2, AvaJoy, 8, and Angelo, 12 – helped her deliver dinners on Monday, Dec. 7. Her two daughters and son alternate days with their three siblings, Clap said.

She homeschools the six children and believes helping deliver meals is a valuable lesson.

“They look forward to delivering the meals each day. The elderly people enjoy seeing them,” said Clapp, adding that her children get to witness how happy their presence makes the seniors.

Monday, the Clapps delivered a meal to June Anderson, who smiled as Isabella handed her a meal of scalloped potatoes and ham. Anderson signed up to have noon meals delivered twice weekly, which ensures she will get a hot meal those days.

“I don’t cook anymore,” Anderson said.

Good Friends is glad to have the opportunity to do it for her and others.

“I know almost all of our seniors. It is nice to see them and to help out. It’s harder for some to get out in the winter, and we absolutely love being able to help,” Miller said.