PCA meal programs help nourish older adults

Alicia Colombo

Food resources remain essential as older adults continue to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic effects.

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) continues to do its part to help feed older Philadelphians. Since March 2020, PCA has served more than 1.7 million meals to older adults through home- and community-based meal programs.

After closing to participants in March 2020, older adult community centers transitioned from serving hot meals on-site every weekday to distributing Grab & Go meals for older adults to eat at home. This past fall, senior centers began offering a host of virtual programs over the internet and telephone, as well as through the mail.

“You go (to the center to) pick up your meals and, if you’re lucky, maybe, you’ll see some of your old friends,” says Sally Guariglia, a member of South Philadelphia Older Adult Center. “It really helps because you can get some good food.”

Adults 60 or older, who are not enrolled in a PCA care-at-home program, may contact an older adult community center to explore Grab & Go meal options, which include frozen or shelf-stable meals and cold meals that do need to be heated. Older adults who qualify to receive Grab & Go meals may receive a supply of meals for a spouse who is younger than 60.

Throughout the pandemic, PCA’s Meal Distribution Center (MDC) has also continued to provide home-delivered meals to homebound older adults who are enrolled in care-at-home programs. Each week, the MDC delivers pre-packaged meals to the doorsteps of more than 4,300 older adults.

“The meals are very good, and they are very good for you,” says home-delivered meals recipient Donna Mallory. For participants who qualify for meal choice, “you can make your choices on the menu to get whatever you’d like.”

PCA’s home-delivered meals meet one-third of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for older adults and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The home-delivered meals program serves both older adults and people with disabilities, who cannot afford balanced meals, are unable to cook or shop for food, and have no one to help prepare meals.

More information about eligibility and enrollment for home-delivered meals can be provided through PCA’s Helpline at 215-765-9040. Information about Grab & Go meals can be found at pcaCares.org/grab-and-go, which also features an interactive map to help identify the nearest older adult community center.

Categories: Food Milestones eNews

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