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Traverse City Couple Help Seniors Get Better Nutrition With New Program

A program in Traverse City is helping seniors get the nutrition they need to stay healthy.

Comfort Keepers provides fresh meals and other services to seniors living on their own every week.

The business teamed up with Sodexo at Northwestern Michigan College, and after close to a year of planning, they are ready to help.

“We feel like we have developed a great program that will serve the needs of seniors in their homes,” Leslie Knopp said.

Leslie and Russ Knopp say they wanted to find a way to help Northern Michigan seniors living on their own.

“To maintain independence in your home a lot of times nutrition is one of the first things that gets to be hard,” Leslie said. “People want to find a supplementary service and get those meals, but they don’t want a caregiver to prepare them in their home.

Leslie and Russ wanted to get the community involved. They went to Sodexo, NMC’s catering company, to turn their ideas into reality.

“We are passionate about food,” Russ said. “We love food, that’s why we do what we do.”

Russ and Leslie are passionate about finding things of nutritional value, which they figured client’s families were going to be concerned with.

The menus are fresh and updated every week. They also have an app that you can use to keep track of your loved one’s nutrition to make sure they stay healthy.

“The daughter who is sitting in Wyoming can look through her phone, look at the app and know the nutritional value of what her mom is eating today,” Russ said.

But Comfort Keepers care goes far beyond dropping meals off at the door several times a week—professional caregivers check on your family members to make sure they are doing OK.

Roy Bartle-Thomas, part of Sodexo the catering company, says he is looking forward to seeing Comfort Keepers expand.

“It’s really great to give back to our community in a way that’s unique and ground breaking for us,” Roy said. “And I’m looking forward in the future to working together to see this expand and become a really great thing for the community and solve a need that could have gone unaddressed.”

Each meal and delivery is handmade and packed with a little bit of extra love. Jean Patterson, supervisor of the Simple to go program, says handmade is what makes it special.

“That’s why I like this program so much, because I know everyone here uses their love to put it into the food because they love food that’s what we do,” she said. 

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