Keeping our senior residents mentally healthy and socially connected is a prerogative for us here at NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley. This winter, we’ve been thrilled to have the flexibility to provide our beloved seniors with a weekly opportunity to socialize and enjoy a meal with their neighbors. We are proud to announce that every Thursday from 11:30am to 12:30pm, all residents at The Meadows, our senior independent living development, and other seniors from the surrounding are are welcome in our Community Center to share in food and friendship.
Inspired by Aging Well, a division of Senior Services, Inc.Woonsocket, Thursday’s luncheons have thus far been incredibly well-received by residents.
“The Director of Wellness there, Linda Thibault, has been saying for years that we need to get group lunches going again,” said Meadows Service Coordinator Millie Lukens. “Initially, there wasn’t a lot of interest, but as soon as the pandemic cleared up, our residents truly wanted to get together again. People couldn’t wait to gather for a meal.”
An entirely volunteer run operation, the lunch program wouldn’t be possible without the support and manpower of the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP). Led by Director of Congregate Meal Program Stephen Healey, RSVP handles everything from food service to clean up. Coming complete with a hot entrée, salad, protein, soup and side dishes, meals are prepared by Encore Catering in Warwick. The Thursday luncheon provides residents with a healthy, proportionate meal that for many, is their hottest and best of the day.
“Millie does a great job with programming for health, entertainment, and education,” Lina Bravo Learning and Career Coach and Workforce Development Coordinator at the Providence Public Library said of the Meadows proactive Service Coordinator.
Averaging about 17 people every Thursday, Meadows residents are filling three tables and then some each week; many of whom often arrive early to visit, and stay late to enjoy one another’s company. Asking no more than a $3 per person, the lunch program also readily accept EBT cards and SNAP.
“The residents are regularly coming in about half an hour before the meal starts, to chat and hang out with one another,” Millie said. “Our comradery is back. It’s wonderful for the social environment here.”
We’d like to extend our appreciation to our incredible past and present volunteers, including Valerie Popek, and JoJo Paulhis from RSVP, and Meadows residents Kathy Jasmin, Elaine Leclerc, Lillian Lanoie, and Maria Fernandes, who help make this experience what it is for our seniors. With no end in sight, the state funded RI Congregate Meal Program, in partnership with BVCAP, allows seniors to show up and enjoy a well deserved meal with friends–a luxury that for many and a welcome change from the isolation of the last two years.
The volunteers are wonderfully thoughtful, and take care of every need while serving the diners with a smile and a kind word. Being able to gather in a social setting is so important!”Meadows resident, Rose Monti
Stay tuned for more from the Meadows in upcoming blogs!
From launching a coordinated effort with ATEL that enables individuals with hearing issues to connect with adaptive telephone equipment, to the kickoff of Cyber Seniors, which will teach Meadows residents the simplest way to use their tablets to efficiently Zoom, the Meadows is truly starting off the new year with a forward thinking bang. This spring, Get Set Up, run by the Office of Healthy Aging, will allow seniors access to an online learning environment platform; where everything from classes on language and art, to cooking and technology, will be right at their fingertips.
For more information on this affordable development for individuals 62 and over, please contact property manager, First Realty, at 401-762-0600 to learn more, or pick up an application at the Meadows, 2 Village Way, North Smithfield, RI.