CAC and School District to Provide Meals for Seniors
Source: Community Action Commission
Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County (CAC) announces a contractual agreement between its Senior Nutrition program and Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) Food Service to provide healthy meals for local seniors.
CAC was looking for a more effective and cost-efficient way to produce nutritious meals for seniors – both those who participate in the Healthy Table program at their local community meal centers and those whose meals are delivered to their home. CAC had previously operated its own kitchens with its own food preparation staff for the purpose of making meals for seniors. A vendor relationship established last year between CAC’s Head Start program for preschool children and SBUSD Food Service had proven successful, opening the door for this new plan of operation for CAC Senior Nutrition.
“Working with Nancy and her team at SBUSD has been a pleasure,” said Anthony “Tony” Mitchell, Chief Operating Officer, Community Action Commission. Nancy Weiss is the Director of Food Service for SBUSD and is responsible for the school district’s emphasis on healthy non-processed food that is fresh and sourced locally. SBUSD Food Service is held up as a model for schools throughout California and the Nation. Santa Barbara is the first known school district in the United States to remove processed meat—including hot dogs, pepperoni, and bacon—from each of its schools’ lunch menus, based on strong and consistent scientific evidence linking processed meat to cancer.
“They have worked tirelessly with CAC to meet the nutrition guidelines for seniors as stipulated by the Area Agency on Aging that provides significant funding for our county’s Senior Nutrition program,” said Mitchell. These guidelines are designed to ensure that healthy meals are served to seniors by elderly nutrition programs such as this one at CAC. One of the key guidelines is that each meal meet 1/3 of a senior’s daily nutritional requirements. “With respect to the quality of food for our seniors, SBUSD Food Service has not only met but has exceeded our expectations,” said Mitchell.
“Santa Barbara Unified is honored and privileged to partner with CAC in bringing our brand of “whole foods” meal service to the youngest and eldest and the most deserving in Santa Barbara County. We could not be prouder,” said Nancy Weiss, Director of Food Service for SBUSD.
Every day hundreds of seniors gather at 14 community meal centers from Guadalupe to Carpinteria, where they are welcomed by Healthy Table site hosts. In addition to the nutritious meals, seniors also benefit from socializing and sharing activities with their companions, an important part of their quality of life. For seniors who find it difficult or impossible to travel away from their homes, CAC’s Healthy at Home program delivers daily, nutritious meals to nearly 300 homebound seniors. This service allows seniors to live independently and be less likely to need to choose between buying medications, paying bills and eating. For many seniors, their delivery driver might be their only visitor of the day.
“Since we started the vendor relationship with SBUSD in January of this year, I have had the occasion to speak with several of our senior clients, and they all give me an enthusiastic thumbs-up about the taste and quality of these meals,” said Mitchell. “There was one gentleman who did give a little push-back when he encountered kale in his meal. But he was good natured about it.”
Senior Nutrition services – including the Healthy Table and the Healthy at Home programs – has been operated by Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County since 1974. It is funded, in part, by the Area Agency for Aging but also supported through local fundraising efforts such as the annual Community Action Champions Dinner and Awards Presentation.
For CAC’s Healthy Lunch program in North County, SBUSD prepares meals at the Good Samaritan Shelter kitchen in Santa Maria.
“Nothing is more rewarding than providing nourishing, delicious and wholesome meals to our community,” said SBUSD’s Weiss.
For Healthy Table community meal center locations and senior meal menus visit cacsb.org/seniormeals. To learn more about CAC Nutrition Services, call: North County 1 805 925-3010, South County 1 805 683-4458.