“Closer To Home” Ending Meal Site, Partnering With Chadron Senior Center To Offer Meals


      After 15 years of providing a welcoming environment and a warm meal to in-need members of the Chadron Community, Closer to Home will change on June 1st from providing meals itself to supporting the meal program at the Chadron Senior Center.

    Closer to Home was founded through a generous bequest by Mitzi Lecher in honor of Barney and Mary Lecher, and has served almost 68,000 meals – all cooked and served by volunteers who have logged more than 16,000 volunteer hours over the years..

     Board vice president Brooke Smith says Closer to Home is now facing significant challenges that are likely to increase in the future, including rising operating costs and volunteer groups and individuals who are being stretched thin. 

        In response, the board began looking for creative ideas on collaboration and consolidation of community efforts. The result was a partnership with the Chadron Senior Center that Smith says will carry on the mission envisioned by the Lechers.

Under the system starting next month, Closer to Home will provide tokens good for a complimentary meal at the Senior Center, then pay the Center for the number of token-meals actually served.

      Smith hopes the individuals served by Closer to Home will feel comfortable going to the Senior Center because the new arrangement is the best way to guarantee meals will be available for those in-need well into the future.

Northwest Community Action Partnership, where Smith is executive director, will also play a big part in the new system – distributing the tokens through its Outreach Office at 127 W 2nd St starting on the 27th. 

      The Outreach Office is open only Mon-Wed, and only in the afternoon on Mondays, so those needing tokens must plan ahead. Smith says they can get up to 5 tokens at a time and cover a full week of meals with one visit to the Outreach Office. 

      She says the board understands that Closer to Home has been a meaningful part of many people’s lives and wants to make this transition as smooth as possible, so anyone with questions is encouraged to call her at her NCAP office at 308-432-3393.

      Smith hopes those in the community who’ve supported Closer to Home in the past or are interested in doing so in the future will consider making a monthly, annual, or one-time financial donation which will go directly to providing meals at the Senior Center 

     Contributions can be made via PayPal or by mailing a check made out to Closer to Home to PO Box 1233, Chadron, NE 69337. They can also be made online at

      Smith also says there will still be volunteer opportunities to help provide meals, only through the Senior Center instead of Closer to Home. Just call Senior Center Director Sheila Motz at 308-432-3185. 

     Smith emphasizes that the Closer to Home board members “truly appreciate the community’s unwavering support and dedication to our cause over the years (and) ogether we can continue to make a positive impact in our community!”