Chili Feed Fundraiser Feb. 10 for “Love the HUB Month” in Grand Marais 2.2.24
The place to be in Grand Marais on Saturday, February 10th, is the HUB. Chili will be served from 11 am to 2 pm, and a good time will be had. According to the Programs and Activity Director for the HUB, Chris Bautch, there will be a variety of chilis, from traditional beans and beef to a vegetarian chili donated by the local restaurant Up Yonder.
She said the meal includes cornbread, a variety of toppings for the chili, dessert, and beverages. The meal prices are $10 for adults and $5 for kids.
The HUB is a non-profit organization under the Cook County Council on Aging umbrella.
“We started our fundraisers last year with the first “Love The Hub Month” events,” Chris said. A pancake breakfast was served and exceeded expectations, according to Chris. It inspired another successful pancake breakfast the Saturday before Father’s Day last year. Upper Lakes Foods, the leading food supplier for the HUB, donated the food for the fundraiser.
The HUB started over half a century ago when a group of local people formed the “Golden Age Club.” They organized local events to encourage community connections for older folks. In 1976, the Cook County Council on Aging (CCCA) formed and began planning for a Senior Center. In 1977, CCCA purchased the current site of the HUB from Gunlint Trail legend Justine Kerfoot. Justine ran an outfitting service at that location.
Until five years ago, the building was known around town as “The Senior Center.” The decision to adopt the new name recognized its role as a central point of community connection for all generations, not only seniors.
Over the years, the buildings were remodeled, expanded, and modernized; much of that was volunteer work.
Encouraging community connections continues to be the mission of the HUB. “It is all about building community connections,” said CCCA/HUB board member Larry Dean. “I always think of the HUB as a place where folks can create caring connections.”
Earning its name, the HUB is truly a hub of activities. In addition to much-needed meal service alternatives for its clients, there are crafting groups, Bone Builders exercise classes, Tai Chi, and numerous card-playing groups.
Chris publishes a monthly newsletter and calendar of all events at the HUB. It is available on its website, www.grandmaraishub.com, and Facebook at The Hub/Grand Marais Senior Center. You can sign up for email updates on the website.
The Hub is also an inexpensive meeting place for people to grab a coffee or tea (free-will donation only) and sit in a quiet corner with friends or colleagues.
The newsletter includes the menu for lunches served Monday through Friday. Seniors aged 60 and over pay just $4.50 for a healthy, hot meal. The under-60 crowd is also welcome; they will pay just $8.00. The menu has a great deal of variety from day to day. One day might be pizza, while the next is a beef burrito.
Please contact the HUB before 9 am the day you plan to dine.
Most funding for the food service programs comes from the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency.
“We have also been fortunate to receive grants from many great nonprofits,” Larry said. “And we continue to work on raising money from individuals. Most recently, our daily clients have helped us buy 25 new chairs to replace our older ones.”
The HUB also runs a Meals on Wheels (MOW) program to deliver hot meals to people shut in at home for whatever reason and age. Five volunteer drivers deliver the meals, and two volunteers substitute as needed.
“Our MOW drivers are often the only point of human contact these people have,” Chris said. It’s not unusual for the drivers to stay a few minutes to chat with recipients. They deliver an average of 20 meals daily within a five-mile radius of Grand Marais.
The other staff member at the HUB with Chris is Kitchen Coordinator Carmen Kivy-Grogan. Carmen relies on volunteers to help with meal preparation and serving.
The HUB prepares frozen entrees to serve the MOW clients on weekends and holidays. “Nothing goes to waste here,” Chris said. “With leftovers, we make up meals to be frozen for future use.”
“I can’t stress enough how much volunteers mean to us here,” Chris said. “Our board members always chip in to help as well.”
It’s evident in talking with Chris that she loves her work. She made her career in Early Childhood Education and feels her current job has brought her “full circle.”
Chris started working at the HUB about four years ago. She took on the Programs and Activity Director position one year ago after Bev Green's retirement.
The HUB board Chair is Jan Smith, Vice Chair is Gwen Lenz, the Secretary is Audrey Stattelman, and the Treasurer is Tod Smith. Roger Linehan and Larry Dean are at-large board members, and Cook County Commissioner Dist. 1 Deb White is the county board liaison.
The HUB is located at 10 North Broadway in Grand Marais. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The phone number is 218-387-2660. You may reach Chris by email at email@example.com.