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Dignitaries help open new Meals on Wheels campus accent

December 7, 2023 | By
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Des Moines Mayor-Elect Connie Boesen, and Drake University President Marty Martin joined WesleyLife leaders December 1 in officially opening the new WesleyLife Meals on Wheels campus, which will enable the program to triple the number of nutritionally vulnerable older adults and military veterans served with hot meals and well-being checks.
 
Rob governor 3"I want to congratulate WesleyLife CEO Rob Kretzinger and his team on what has most certainly been a labor of love in opening this beautiful campus. The state of Iowa is proud to have been a partner in this endeavor, which will have an impact on so many," the governor said in her remarks, referencing the state's $3 million award to WesleyLife from the Nonprofit Innovation Fund. 
 
'Transformational' certainly describes what we are seeing today — not only the new commercial kitchen but the hydroponic operation and the space for intergenerational programming that will take place here. Rob and WesleyLife, you should be very proud of your vision."

Other governmental entities also contributed to the development of the campus. Mayor-Elect Boesen recognized those efforts, then echoed her words, adding, "“This campus will serve as much more than just a community kitchen providing meals. It will play a role in changing the social fabric of not only Des Moines, but the entire metro area by helping serve our older population and our veteran community.
 
"What you have done here is incredible and will reach far beyond even what you intended it to.”
 
The $13 million campus is the result of a record-setting capital campaign, with more than $11.1 million donated to fund its development and construction. In addition to a new commercial kitchen, the redeveloped building at 3206 University Ave. near the Drake University campus also includes Prairie Meadows Hydroponic Farm, the nation’s only hydroponic operation associated with a Meals on Wheels location, and space for connecting generations through programming designed to foster interpersonal growth and present isolation.
 
"This area was a natural place for us to create this space; there is a renaissance going on in this neighborhood, so there's no better time for us to be here and be a part of the energy that's going on here," Kretzinger said.
 
"It's our hope that our impact will extend far beyond these walls, far beyond this neighborhood. This campus came together because of the efforts of so many, and we are grateful."
 
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