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Home and Congregate Meals

Posted by Caitlin Huth - Nutrition

As part of the Older Americans Act, those 60 years of age and older are invited to receive food at congregate meal sites, often for lunch. For those 60 years and older who are homebound, home-delivered meals are available. Many programs include individuals under age 60 who have disabilities.

See the Resources list below to learn more about local congregate and home-delivered meal programs in DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt counties.

Features

  • A full meal - that meets at least a third of daily nutrition needs - is served
  • Meals are provided at a low cost donation, cheaper than restaurants
  • Programs encourage participating in meals even if money is a concern, as no one is turned away for inability to pay. LINK cards (SNAP benefits) are often accepted
  • Congregate sites often coordinate transportation to meals

Opportunities

  • Programs make meals for a large number of people, and have to transport the foods. The quality may not always be like homemade foods. This is a chance to practice patience and understanding
  • The foods served may not always be foods you enjoy or have eaten before. Try looking at this as an opportunity to try new foods
  • Join in the social aspect of congregate meals by talking with other meal-goers. Asking about job history or volunteer experiences is a good conversation starter

Food Safety Tips

  • Refrigerate home-delivered meals if not eating right away. Reheat foods to 165°F, usually when food appears to be simmering or boiling
  • If taking home leftovers from a congregate meal, refrigerate within 2 hours from when the food was served. If the meal was served at 11:30am, leftovers need to go in the fridge by 1:30pm
  • Eat leftovers within 3-4 days

Volunteering

For any readers wondering about program operations, volunteers are so important. Contact any of the sites to learn about volunteer opportunities.

Resources

Home and Congregate Meals serving Macon Co

Home and Congregate Meals serving DeWitt and Piatt Co

Reference

Position of the American Dietetic Association, American Society for Nutrition, and Society for Nutrition Education: Food and Nutrition Programs for Community-Residing Older Adults, J Am Diet Assoc. 2010; 110: 463-472,

Today's post was written by Caitlin Huth. Caitlin Huth, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Nutrition & Wellness Educator serving DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties. She teaches nutrition- and food-based lessons around heart health, food safety, diabetes, and others. In all classes, she encourages trying new foods, gaining confidence in healthy eating, and getting back into our kitchens.



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