Pop-up hot meal sites will be set up to provide area seniors with nutritious meals
Leon County seniors who currently receive hot meals at congregate meal locations are in for a treat. Next week, the Area Agency on Aging for North Florida, Inc. along with Elder Care Services, Inc. in partnership with local restaurants will be launching Meals of Love. Hot meals will be served by volunteers and trained restaurant staff to seniors who will not even have to leave their vehicles.
The pop-up sites are designed to allow registered seniors to drive up, pop their trunks and leave with a hot meal. All volunteers will be adhering to strict CDC guidelines, wearing gloves and masks and will be practicing social distancing. A variation of the Meals of Love program first launched in Central Florida by a sister agency.
“The global COVID-19 pandemic may have changed the way we operate, but it certainly has not stopped us from looking for creative ways to continue serving our most vulnerable,” said Lisa Bretz, Executive Director of Area Agency on Aging for North Florida Inc. “We thank Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Richard Prudom for their efforts in facilitating this effort along with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.”
The Department of Elder Affairs recently announced this new effort which allowed restaurants and food establishments to become emergency meal vendors for Florida’s seniors who are either homebound or self- isolating for protection. Due to the fact that many meal sites for seniors closed around the state to prevent the spread of COVID-19, collaborations like this one are even more important and provide one more layer of food reassurance to our seniors.
“This effort is truly an example of how public and private sectors can come together when there is a need,” said Jocelyne Fliger, CEO Elder Care Services. “This not only helps the seniors we serve, but it also allows us to give back by investing in our favorite restaurants and keeping their workers working.”
In Leon County alone, Elder Care is providing more than 1500 meals a week to some 300 home-bound seniors.
For information on seniors meal options and participation in Meals of Love pop up sites, please call the Elder Helpline at 1-800-963-5337 for registration. We will be serving eligible seniors who are 60 or older and who are in need of a hot meal. In order to provide appropriate meals we are only able to serve preregistered seniors.
Dates and locations of pop up sites will be announced each week and they will be operational from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Participating restaurants will be taking special care to ensure that meals that are served meet health and dietary guidelines.
Again, for more information about senior meal options and to register for Meals of Love please call 1-800-963-5337.
About the Advantage Aging Solutions
Incorporated in 1978, the Area Agency on Aging for North Florida, Inc. d/b/a Advantage Aging Solutions serves as the designated Aging and Disability Resource Center for the Panhandle and Big Bend areas, assisting seniors, individuals with disabilities, families and caregivers access information, referral and assistance for federal, state and local resources. For more information, visit www.aaanf.org.
Elder Care Services, Inc., a private non-profit corporation, is the lead aging services agency in Leon County. They are dedicated to improving the quality of life for seniors with programs allowing them to remain at home with dignity. For more information, visit www.eldercarebigbend.org or follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/eldercaretally.