Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion Kenai Senior Center cook Melissa "Missy" Bailey examines a frozen, vacuum-packed sockeye fillet donated to the Senior Center by the Alaska Salmon Alliance on Wednesday, Sept. 23 in the kitchen of the Kenai Senior Center.

Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion Kenai Senior Center cook Melissa "Missy" Bailey examines a frozen, vacuum-packed sockeye fillet donated to the Senior Center by the Alaska Salmon Alliance on Wednesday, Sept. 23 in the kitchen of the Kenai Senior Center.

Kenai Senior Center receives salmon donation

Fifty pounds of frozen sockeye salmon arrived at the Kenai Senior Center on Wednesday afternoon, the first shipment of what will be 300 pounds of salmon donated to the center’s senior meals program by the commercial fishing trade organization Alaska Salmon Alliance.

Senior center director Rachael Craig said the salmon will be served once a month during the Senior Center’s Wednesday lunches, which are open to the public, and also fed to home-bound seniors enrolled in the center’s meal delivery program.

Craig said the salmon meal was originally suggested by Kenai senior Howard Hill, who after seeking a source of local donated salmon secured the donation from the Alaska Salmon Alliance. She said that salmon has nutritional benefits, particularly for seniors, for whom it supplies anti-oxidants, proteins, and oils.

“Some people say it helps brain-power,” Craid said, of salmon. “But it helps your skin and provides the oils for your body, for your joints.”

Senior Center cook Melissa “Missy” Bailey agreed that the salmon would be nutritious.

“It’s lean, good in protein,” Bailey said. “Gosh darn pretty much no hormones, no antibiotics, that sort of thing. Right out of Cook Inlet.”

After opening the box of frozen salmon, Bailey said she was happy to find it already filleted and pin-boned, which she hadn’t been expecting. She had planned to fillet and bone the salmon herself.

Salmon Alliance executive director Arne Thomson said the donation was fitting, given the senior center’s location.

“Here we are on the Kenai River,” Thomson said. “You’ve got major seafood processing plants right here in Kenai. And we think we should be making good, high-quality sockeye salmon available to our senior citizens.”

Thomson said the Salmon Alliance includes drift-netters and set-netters, but is made primarilly of seafood processors, including Snug Harbor and Great Pacific Seafoods. Thomson said it was the processors who had decided to make the donation “because they end up with the product.”

Thomson said the Alaska Salmon Alliance was doing “a lot of public outreach … on the importance of the seafood industry” that includes salmon donations to communities. Previous recipients from the Salmon Alliance have included Palmer, Big Lake, which served donated salmon to victims of the Willow Wildfire, and the city of Kenai, which used it to feed guests at Governor Bill Walker’s February inaugural ball in Kenai.

The Kenai Senior Center’s first salmon donation was delivered by Thomson, who said that Salmon Alliance president Paul Dale would also have attended if Dale hadn’t been meeting with governor Walker, who earlier in the day spoke to a joint luncheon of the Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce. Kenai mayor Pat Porter was also at the delivery, which was preceded by a photo-op featuring a senior center meal delivery driver in a tuxedo holding a packaged meal on a silver tray.

Bailey said she was considering preparing the senior center’s first salmon meal with terriyaki glaze and sweet mustard. However, she had several other meal ideas as well.

“I could do a seafood stuffing with salt and pepper,” Bailey said. “And barbecuing is nice, but I don’t have a real big barbecue, so I’ll probably end up baking it or pan-frying it. But I like the stuffing idea.”

Bailey said she planned to prepare 75 pounds of salmon for the first two salmon lunches, and estimated that on each occasion she’ll serve around 130 dishes, including the home-delivered meals.

“When we put salmon on the menu, you know they’ll show up,” Bailey said.

Craig said that seniors and members of the public will have their first chance to feed on the donated salmon sometime next month.


Reach Ben Boettger at

More in News

Shawn Dick of Talkneetna carries a fresh catch out of the water while dipnetting on the Kenai Beach on July 10, 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Kenai River dipnetting opens this month

The Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery opens July 10

The sun is seen shining above the Kenai River in Soldotna, Alaska, on July 14, 2020. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clario file)
When the temperature hits 70, Alaskans feel the heat — and start suffering health ills

Acclimatization, the angle of the sun at high latitudes and other factors make summer heat more intense in Alaska

A map shows active fires around the state of Alaska on Friday, July 1, 2022. (Screenshot from Alaska Wildland Fire Information Map)
Fire danger prompts restrictions on burning, fireworks

There were 160 fires in Alaska as of Thursday, and of those 17 were staffed with fire personnel

Jessica Cook, left, and Les Gara are photographed in The Peninsula Clarion’s offices Thursday in Kenai. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Gara, Cook campaign on the Kenai Peninsula

The pair cited education funding, reproductive rights and election security as priorities

A map shows the Seward Highway MP 17-22.5 Rehabilitation Project area. The Seward Highway between Mileposts 17 and 22.5 — from about Primrose Campground to near Teddy’s Inn The Woods — will be closed from 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesday starting July 18, 2022. (Screenshot)
Roadwork in Moose Pass to shut parts of Seward Highway

The Seward Highway between Mileposts 17 and 22.5 will be closed from 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesday starting July 18

Former Homer High School athletic director poses on Friday, July 1, 2022, at the high school athletic field in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Work ethic, grit and teamwork

After two decades, Homer athletic director says goodbye to program he helped build

Assembly members participate during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Another renewable energy company seeks to set up peninsula solar farm

Utopian Power wants to build a two-megawatt solar farm on a 40-acre chunk of land owned by the borough

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID hospitalizations up from last week

Hospitalization data is the most effective indicator of the prevalence of the virus

Most Read