Friday, June 12, 2020

Senior Meals Program a win-win for participants, restaurants

Windham's Senior Meals Program offers seniors ages 65 and
over a free meal-to-go every Friday from participating
restaurants. The program is a partnership between the Windham
Parks and Recreation department and the Sebago Lakes Region
Chamber of Commerce. COURTESY PHOTO
By Ed Pierce

It’s a fact that food truly does bring people together and Windham’s Senior Meals Program is evidence of that.

The popular program launched this spring as a partnership between the Windham Parks and Recreation Department and the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce and offers seniors ages 65 and over a free meal-to-go every Friday from participating restaurants.

“This program really is a win-win for everyone concerned,” said Windham Parks and Recreation Director Linda J. Brooks. “Everybody enjoys a meal out from time to time and that’s what this program is all about.”

With local restaurants closed to indoor dining because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brooks said that the Senior Meals Program is a way for seniors to appreciate someone else’s cooking or to simply try a new dish from one of the participating restaurants.“Many seniors are just happy to reconnect with our staff and volunteers when they come by to pick up their meals,” Brooks said. “Some are happy just be out of the house driving to pick up the meals. Everyone seems happier because of this program.”

Restaurants that have supplied meals for the Senior Meals Program so far have included the Elbow Room Bistro; Franco’s Bistro; Duck Pond Variety; Starlight Catering, Applebee’s and Rustler’s Steak House.

Sponsoring the program are Hall Implement; Fielding Oil & Propane Co. Inc.; Blue Rock; Windham Parks and Recreation; the Senior Scholarship Fund; Windham Economic Development5 Corporation and Octagon Cleaning.

Feedback about the program and the quality of the meals has been overwhelmingly supportive, Brooks said.

“We have had such a positive response from the seniors. The first week we served 76 meals, the second week was 125 and by the third week we reached our max of 150 meals, which we anticipate meeting each week of this program,” she said.  “Anyone not able to be accommodated one week is put on the list first for the following week.”

Brooks said that sometimes the seniors take the meals home and then eat them and are so happy afterward, they reach back out quickly to say thanks.

“We’ve had emails almost immediately from participants about how wonderful their meal was,” she said. “Some people have even said we can’t wait to go there to that restaurant and enjoy that same meal there when it reopens.”

Program participants receive their meals by curbside service every Friday at the Windham Town Hall.       

To sign up for the program, call 892-1905 or send an email to Participants should include their name and the names of any other seniors in their household who would like a meal.

The RSVP deadline to request a meal is by noon every Thursday, Brooks said.

Meals can be picked up between 11 and 12:30 every Friday outside the Windham Town Hall gymnasium. <

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