Seniors in the lunch program at the Middlefield Senior Center get more than a well-balanced meal. They get a warm and nurturing environment that lets them know people care.
“As they get older and maybe lose a spouse, they come not only for the hot meal, but also to socialize,” said Joan Lombardo, Senior Center and Social Services director. “It’s a friendly place; if people don’t know you, they soon will. And if someone who is a regular doesn’t show up, we call to make sure they’re alright. It’s also nice for their adult children who live out of state, because they know their parent is taking care of himself or herself.”
Lunch for seniors (who must be 60 or older) is Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at noon, with a suggested donation of $2. Reservations should be made at least 24 hours beforehand, so that enough food can be ordered. Seniors can drop in, but meals will be served first to those with reservations.
All seniors are welcome, and there is no criteria for income. CW Resources (of New Britain), supplies, cooks and delivers the meals, which are reimbursed by the federal government. There are usually 10 regulars who come for the lunches, which are served by two volunteers. Attendees can look forward to a hot nutritious meal consisting of a protein, a starch, a vegetable, a fruit, and milk.
The Senior Center is currently in need of two sets, or four, volunteers to serve lunch for one day a month or so, for two and a half hours.
“A good server,” Lombardo said, “is a people person, one who particularly likes being with seniors.” The volunteers meet the driver from CW Resources and bring in the meals, which are then put in warmers; serve the meals; and clean up afterwards.
One hour of training by CW Resources is required, where the volunteers learn about sanitation, food safety, and clean-up procedures. (Volunteers must wear hair nets and gloves when handling food; food must be kept at 165 degrees; disposable plates, cups, and cutlery are used; if someone is sick, they are not to come in; for the sake of sanitation, no sponges are used, but rather disposable cleaning materials.
“The people who attend and the volunteer servers are wonderful,” Lombardo said. “It’s the people who make the program. And it’s the best lunch for the best price in town. More people should come.”
Joyce Dowling, of Middlefield, has been a happy server since 2005. “I like serving this population,” she said. “It’s a way for me to give back to my community. A lot of these seniors are alone now, and in a lot of ways they don’t get the recognition they need. They have stories and jokes to tell, they have endured hardships. And they are still out there, wanting to gather together and share a meal.”
For more information about becoming a volunteer server, call (860)349-7121.
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