After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mercer County Nutrition Program for Older Adults will resume in-person lunches at nine of its locations starting Monday, May 2, announced Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes.
"For the past two years, we've been distributing 'grab-and-go' frozen meals at our Nutrition sites at the municipal senior centers, and have provided at-home delivery for those seniors unable to get to the sites," Mr. Hughes explained.
"The pandemic required us to exercise creativity in ways to continue to deliver services to our residents, and we rose to the challenge. In the two years that the program was closed to in-person dining, we distributed an astounding 266,483 meals to our senior citizens," he added.
The County Executive credits the success to the teams in the County Nutrition Program and the county's bus transportation program for older adults and people with disabilities, known as TRADE buses. Those departments, along with the staff at our partnering senior centers, ensured that program participants did not go hungry.
"From food preparation to final delivery, it took a cadre of dedicated people and a great deal of flexibility to make sure this important service carried on," Mr. Hughes said.
Now with COVID-19 vaccines readily available and communities begin to reopen with less stringent safety measures, Mercer is excited to reopen for congregate meals. This is a welcome return of the essential socialization component that the Nutrition Program provides to battle isolation and loneliness.
About the Program
The Nutrition Program for Older Adults provides a daily nutritionally balanced meal Monday through Friday (except for County and/or municipal holidays). All meals meet the required one-third of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) daily referenced intake (DRI) of nutrients for an individual 60 years or older. Meals are available to Mercer County residents age 60 or older and their spouses (regardless of age), any county resident with a disability whose primary caregiver is a program participant, anyone volunteering in the program, and the personal care aides of program participants (when they accompany a participant to the site where the meals are provided).
Locations and information:
In-person services will be hosted at these centers: Jennye Stubblefield Senior Center and Sam Naples Community Center in Trenton, Lawrence Township Senior Center, Princeton Café for Older Adults, John O. Wilson Neighborhood Service Center in Hamilton, Hamilton Senior Center, Hopewell Valley Senior Center, Hollowbrook Community Center in Ewing, and Robbinsville Senior Center. Most meal services begin at 11:30 a.m., although times may vary by location, so please contact the Mercer County Nutrition Program for Older Adults at 609-989-6650 or inquire at your local site.
No payment is required for a meal; however, there is a suggested donation of $1 for each meal provided. Reservations are required; please call 609-989-6650 to reserve your spot. Monthly menus can be found on the Nutrition Program for Older Adults web page.
If transportation is a barrier to participating in the congregate meals, Mercer County TRADE may be able to help you. They can be reached at 609-530-1971 or email@example.com. Some of the sites also may have transportation options for its participants. If you cannot make it to the site for reasons other than transportation, there may be home-delivered options for you. From aging partners such as Meals on Wheels of Mercer County to Medicaid-funded home-delivered meals, there are resources in the community to assist everyone.
For more information, please contact the Nutrition Program for Older Adults at 609-989-6650 or firstname.lastname@example.org.