The Burlington County Office on Aging commemorated the 50th anniversary of the landmark Older Americans Act Nutrition Program in late March and reminded county seniors that healthy meals and the opportunity to socialize with neighbors and other community members is available at the county’s congregate nutrition sites.
“Our county’s congregate meals program is a great way for seniors to get out of the house, connect with other people and eat a nutritious meal in a community setting,” said Burlington County Commissioner Felicia Hopson, liaison to the Office on Aging and the Department of Human Services. “We understand that it was a hardship for a lot of seniors when these sites had to close because of the pandemic but we want seniors to know they are back open and ready to serve them. If you haven’t visited one lately, now is the perfect time.”
The county’s four congregate nutrition sites are located at the Carslake Community Center in Bordentown, the First Baptist Church in Beverly, the Samuel Miller Building in Mount Holly and the Bethel AME Church in Moorestown. Each serves lunch on Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays and Fridays. Mount Holly is also open on Wednesdays. Any senior 60 or older is welcome to attend.
In addition to serving lunch, the nutrition sites offer participating seniors the opportunity to meet and socialize with others. Activities such as armchair exercises, arts and crafts and games are also frequently held on site, along with presentations about interesting topics.
More than 24,000 meals were served to seniors last year at the four sites, which were forced to remain closed for more than half of the year due to the pandemic.
Another 125,000 meals were served to homebound seniors and other isolated residents from the Burlington County’s Meals on Wheels program.
Burlington County receives funding for both programs through the federal Older Americans Act Nutrition Program. Passed on March 22, 1972, the law created the first federal program to support the health and well-being for older adults through nutrition services like Meals on Wheels and congregate sites.
Burlington County celebrated the milestone on March 22 with an anniversary cake and party at the Bordentown nutrition site.
“The Older Americans Act Nutrition Program has helped thousands of seniors right here in Burlington County,” said Hopson. “The funding supports programs that help keep our seniors healthy and engaged. Whether it’s a Meals on Wheels driver interacting with a homebound resident, or a group of seniors enjoying lunch and a game of cards at a nutrition site, these programs can be a lifeline for residents who might otherwise feel alone and isolated. We’re extremely proud of these services and are committed to keeping them accessible for our residents to rely upon.”
Seniors wishing to reserve a meal at a nutrition site or obtain more information about them can call the Office on Aging at 609-702-7053 or email BCOfficeonAging@co.burlington.nj.us.