FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2019
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COUNTY INCREASES FUNDING FOR SENIOR MEALS
SAN JOSE – The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted last Tuesday to increase funding for senior congregate meal programs. At the request of Santa Clara County Board President Joe Simitian, the Board received a report regarding unmet needs in the County’s senior congregate meals program. In addition to approving the additional $899,719 recommended by County staff, Simitian asked for a comprehensive report on the what’s needed for the congregate meals program to be successful.
“These lunches for seniors not only provide necessary nutrition, they also are a place for seniors to find community.”
Simitian noted. “Too many seniors face isolation, and strengthening these programs means seniors have a friendly place to go in their community for a meal and socialization.”
The County’s Congregate Meals Program provides hot lunches for seniors at 40 sites around the County in Mountain View, Palo Alto, Campbell, Gilroy, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, Santa Clara, San Jose, and Sunnyvale.
The program is open to all seniors over the age of 60. While a $3 donation is requested, no senior will be turned away from a hot meal.
“At congregate meal sites, like La Comida, seniors have the opportunity to socialize and create informal support networks,” said Mary Ruth Batchelder, Site Manager at La Comida. “This helps prevent isolation and loneliness, allowing seniors to live healthy, independent lives, and age in place. As the only Senior Nutrition Program in Palo Alto, La Comida plays a critical role in keeping our seniors healthy in our community.”
The report from the County’s Department of Aging and Adult Services showed that there is demand for an additional 177 meals per day. It also shared that the current County reimbursement rate does not account for the actual costs incurred by the providers, and suggested funding to partially address these gaps. The Board approved the funding, and Simitian called for information to calculate the full funding needs of the program.
The Congregate Meals Program is part of the Senior Nutrition Program authorized by the Older Americans Act of 1965, meant to ensure seniors have access to nutritious meals. The Older Americans Act requires services to be offered in addition to meals, so seniors have an opportunity to access socialization, health, and exercise programs at the meal sites.
“The Senior Nutrition Program provides nutritious meals and socialization for older adults who may be lonely, socially isolated, or depressed,” said Tina Wong-Erling, Senior Services Supervisor for the City of Campbell.
In addition to the Congregate Meals Program, the County also provides a Meals on Wheels service to make sure homebound seniors can access nutritious meals. In the West Valley, seniors can use RYDE – Reach Your Destination Easily – to get transportation to meal programs, as well as medical appointments and anywhere else they need to go in the RYDE service area.
For a list of congregate meal sites, visit: https://www.sccgov.org/sites/ssa/daas/snp/Pages/meals.aspx