Trumbull senior center brings back lunch program

The Trumbull Senior Center on Priscilla Place.

The Trumbull Senior Center on Priscilla Place.

Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

TRUMBULL — When the Trumbull Senior Center shut down in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it, not surprisingly, took a lot of its programs and activities online. The virtual programs were a hit with a lot of members, said Trumbull Human Services director Michele Jakab — except for one specific group.

“We found that a lot of the people who were in our lunch program (didn’t want to do the virtual programming),” she said. “For a lot of them, the lunch program was the only senior center program they used.”

The senior center began slowly reopening in June, at first for certain programs only. But Jakab and others were mindful of wanting to bring back the lunch program in some capacity, so that patrons could not just “get the nutrients they needed,” but also socialize with peers.

“We wanted to bring back that population wasn’t participating online with us,” Jakab said.

Then, in October, the center brought back the lunch program, though it’s somewhat different than it was in the past. The center is no longer participating in the state-funded program it had been using before, though it did receive a grant from the state Department of Public Health.

“The state-funded program was a little old-fashioned,” Jakab explained. “The members didn’t get a choice (of a variety of food). The nutrition guidelines were very strict.”

The center now uses the company New England Young at Heart, and Jakab said the options are more varied, even including frozen meals to take home. But the variety does come at a cost.

Whereas in the past, lunch participants only had to give a suggested donation, they do now have to pay for food — anywhere from $2 for a soup to $8 for a full hot meal. But Jakab said scholarships are available for those who need assistance.

“We want to make sure everyone gets a hot meal who wants one,” she said.

So far, she said, the program is a growing success, with between 10 and 22 people a day for the program, but Jakab said she expects the numbers to grow as the word gets out.

Those who have come back already seem to enjoy the revamped program, she said.

“They love the food,” Jakab said. “And they love being able to come in, have a cup of coffee and socialize.”

For more information on the Trumbull Senior Center’s lunch program, call 203-452-5144.