Friendship Centers of Emmet County offer daily meals to community members for a suggested donation. Due to the pandemic, per-meal costs have exponentially risen and they are in need of your support. Learn how you can support this project and additional Northern Michigan nonprofits featured in our 2021 GIVE issue.
The halls of the Friendship Centers of Emmet County have been quiet these past months. There’s no cheerful clatter of silverware on plates at the communal lunches, no ukulele club, no cardio drumming class in the exercise room. The temporary changes are indeed a loss to the seniors in the community that the Friendship Centers serve, even as they strive to keep everyone safe from COVID.

But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed, and that’s the reliability of a caring staff member delivering a daily hot, nutritious meal to seniors across the county with their Meals on Wheels service.

Friendship Centers’ mission is to provide need-based, simple assistive care services to seniors in Emmet County, allowing older adults to remain living in their own homes. It’s particularly important work here in Northern Michigan, where aging in place can be a challenge; but the care provided with a daily visit and a hot meal goes miles toward helping seniors remain independent. As one client recently shared: “It’s such a peace of mind that someone other than family is around to check on me almost daily.”

Each visit allows for a chance to chat, to check in on a senior and ensure they have everything they need. “Sometimes that meal delivery is the only personal contact they’ll have all day,” says Friendship Centers Executive Director Denneen Smith.

Because of the pandemic, the need for meals has increased, in particular, because the centers currently cannot welcome 80-plus people for daily lunch on-site. More than 160 hot meals head out each day, as well as bags of frozen meals for holidays and weekends.

Even though Friendship Centers offer daily meals for a suggested donation of $3, they’re happy to receive nothing more than a grateful smile and a “thank you.” However, the cost to the center has risen since the pandemic to more than $10 per meal—a difference made up for by generous donations from the surrounding community.  To help with their mission, visit to make an online donation.

This Article Was First Featured in Northern Michigan GIVE 2021

Read more Northern Michigan nonprofit stories and learn how to donate and volunteer in the free edition of MyNorth GIVE 2021. You can also preview and purchase our digital issues Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine or subscribe and get Traverse delivered to your door each month.

Northern Michigan GIVE 2021 by MyNorth

Photo by MyNorth Media

Photo(s) by Friendship Centers of Emmet County