Winter Tips and Resources

Blizzard Bag contents

In Minnesota, winter weather can be harsh and unpredictable. Below are a few tips and resources to help older neighbors (and others!) get through the coldest, snowiest winter months.

Keep a Well-Stocked Pantry

It’s a good idea to keep shelf-stable food on hand in case going out for groceries isn’t possible as a result of severe weather events.

Meals on Wheels delivers Blizzard Bags (pictured above) at the start of each winter to meal recipients. These bags contain “low-cook, no-cook” foods and snacks that are easy to prepare, in case regular meal delivery is interrupted by dangerous weather conditions.

Check on Vulnerable Neighbors

Please consider checking in with your neighbors during inclement weather. Those with mobility issues may experience compounded difficulties getting the things they need.

Keep Walkways Clear

Remember to keep your sidewalks clear of snow and ice. Sidewalks and curb ramps are lifelines for many seniors and people with disabilities. When not cleared, it can limit their ability to get groceries, get prescriptions, go to work, and attend local gatherings.

If you can, help out your neighbors who might have difficulties clearing their own sidewalks. Seniors can contact the Minnesota Senior LinkAge Line at 1-800-333-2433 to request a referral for snow removal services!

Be Careful on The Road

If you must leave your home while experiencing severe weather, check 511 (511mn.org or call 511) for current road conditions and the National Weather Service for upcoming changes in weather. It’s also a good idea to tell someone where you are going, the routes you intend to travel and when you expect to return. When you reach your destination or return home, call to report you have arrived. 

On the road, always buckle your seat belt, be patient, and be prepared. Winter driving tips can be found here.

Sign Up for Meal on Wheels

Receiving meals is a great option for those experiencing mobility issues, especially during the winter. If you or a loved one could benefit from receiving fresh, home-delivered meals and friendly check-ins, please contact us at 612-623-3363 or sign up online to receive meals.

Resources for Staying Warm

The Energy Assistance Program

The Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps pay home heating costs and furnace repairs for income-qualified households. This program is federally funded and does not have to be paid back as it is offered as a grant. Grants are available for both renters and homeowners, and are based on household size, income, and utility costs. Local Energy Assistance Partners can help with applications.

Cold Weather Rule

Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule (CWR) is a state law that protects residential utility customers from having electric or natural gas service shut off between October 1 and April 30. It requires making a payment plan with your Electric or Natural Gas utility company to receive CWR protection. 

Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program

This program is supported by Minnesota Energy Resources which provide funds for Community Action Program (CAP) agencies. There is no cost for customers. If your household qualifies, a local weatherization service provider may conduct a free home assessment to identify cost-effective improvement opportunities to make your home more energy efficient. In order to be eligible for this program you must meet state and federal guidelines. To find out if you qualify, contact the Community Action Program in your area

Warming Centers

Consider visiting your local library, mall, movie theater, church or faith center for a place to warm up during the day. Additional shelter can be found at designated warming centers throughout the Twin Cities. Find your local warming center by county:

For Hennepin County, visit hennepin.us or call their hotline at 612-204-8200.

For Ramsey County, visit ramseycounty.us or call their hotline at 651-266-1050. 

For Anoka County resources, visit anokacountymn.gov

Anyone in physical danger of freezing should call 911.

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