LOWVILLE — In the fall, the Lewis County Office for the Aging initiated a program to provide dinners for people at least 60 years old. The department has meal sites around the county to provide nutritious lunches for older adults, and last year it added a dinner option.
“We piloted this program last year and served 455 stews and salads in the evening to older adults over six weeks,” said OFA Director Crystal D. Collette. “This year we are doing six weeks of salads May 26 through June 30 and six weeks of stews this fall. We are working on doing our best to make sure most of the ingredients are local and fresh and that we introduce older adults to some new, delicious foods.”
The agency is working with Red Barn Meats, Croghan, and Agbotics, Sackets Harbor, to provide locally produced food for the dinners.
Ms. Collette noted that 86% of the participants said that they tried a new food during the program in 2021.
“Many older adults in our community have never given goat cheese or quinoa or beet greens a chance,” she said. “But if you lead with maple dressing and grass-fed beef — they will give it a shot and possibly add a healthy new food to their plates at home.”
According to one of the program’s volunteers, the seniors have liked the evening meals.
“The Office for the Aging evening meal program is a wonderful program for seniors,” said Donna J. Rice, a social welfare examiner for the Lewis County Department of Social Services. “It offers healthy meals made with local products. Some of the meals might be a little different than what you would make at home, so this adds variety to your diet and gives you a chance to maybe try something new.”
“The evening meal program was a huge hit last year,” she added. “I volunteered to help OFA at the meal site and I heard rave reviews from the participants, most returning every week. They loved the meals. Some said they wished they had signed up earlier.”
Mrs. Rice pointed out that since the only eligibility requirements are age and residency, it opened the program up to a large population in Lewis County.
“It’s not just for retired individuals, but also for those still working,” Mrs. Rice said. “My husband and I are both participants and we are both still working. After a long day, it’s so nice to just stop in at the meal site and pick up your dinner to go. No meal planning or prep, just a delicious Thursday night meal. Office for the Aging has amazing programs and this is one of them. I highly recommend this program to all eligible individuals.”
Ms. Collette said the program utilizes state and federal nutrition funds, which along with donations help to provide the program and keep the meals completely free for all participants.
“This program is all about wellness through local foods as we age so there are no income guidelines for participation,” Ms. Collette said.
A $5 donation per meal is suggested but not required.
The evening meals may be picked up from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursdays at the Maple Ridge Center, 7421 East Road in Lowville.
Preorders are required by 1 p.m. each Wednesday by calling 315-376-5313. Delivery is available to Valley View Court and Brookside Senior Living Community only.
May 26: Kale apple chicken salad — includes radishes, pecans, sharp cheddar cheese, grilled chicken and dressed with a Dijon vinaigrette
June 16: Mediterranean quinoa steak salad — includes feta cheese, Kalamata olives, slivered almonds with lemon-herb vinaigrette.
June 2: Turkey Caesar salad
June 23: Spring pea with strawberry salad — includes pork loin, greens, topped with shelled peas and pea pods, feta cheese, and pecans with a creamy maple vinaigrette dressing
June 9: Green goddess salad — vegetarian salad with chickpeas and hard-boiled eggs with lemon herb vinaigrette dressing
June 30: Beet goat cheese chicken salad — includes sliced avocado, blueberries, chopped walnuts and drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette
For more information, visit www.lewiscounty.org/departments/office-for-the-aging or the OFA’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lewiscountyOFA.