By Beth Lawrence
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners has engaged the services of a new contractor to furnish meal service for two county departments.
Skillet Kitchen, operated by Kimble’s Food by Design of LaGrange, Georgia, will begin providing meals for the Department on Aging’s congregate meals and meal delivery programs and the Jackson County Detention Center in October.
Commissioners unanimously approved the three-year contract at their July 20 meeting.
The current contract with John Faulk, owner of B & Al’s Grill, for meal service ends in September.
Skillet operates 35 similar kitchen programs in Georgia, Kentucky and North Carolina including Swain and Cherokee counties.
Jackson County Detention Center Captain Patrick McCoy, Department on Aging Director Eddie Wells and County Manager Don Adams designed the requirements for a new provider and vetted applicants.
The company will provide meals for the detention center for a base price of $8.11 per meal for 90 to 117 meals per day and for Department on Aging for $7.05 per meal for 100 to 109 meals per day and up on a sliding scale.
Department on Aging served approximately 190 meals per day as of early July, Wells said.
The Detention Center served around 200 meals daily, McCoy said.
The county maintains a full commercial kitchen in the Department on Aging facility which is contracted out to private vendors who prepare the meals for all three programs.
The vendor is required to meet certain criteria. Meals will be prepared locally using the Department on Aging kitchen. The contractor will provide any extra equipment they deem necessary beyond county provided apparatus. The provider must also be able to transport food safely and sanitarily. The vendor should have a backup plan to continue services in an emergency.
The contractor must maintain a grade A sanitary rating and offer nutritious, edible meals meeting U.S. Department of Agriculture and N.C. Department of Agriculture guidelines. A dietitian-approved four-week menu cycle with adequate variety including holiday meals for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Independence Day is also required.