Statistics show that food insecurity is growing among older adults. The National Council on Aging noted that in 2014, 10.2 million older Americans faced the threat of hunger, which represents 15.8 percent of adults aged 60 and over in the U.S. At Quinsigamond Community College that information has not gone unnoticed by the college’s Hospitality and Recreation Management (HRM) faculty, staff and students.
Once a week since March 2017, QCC students, faculty and staff located at QCC in the Worcester Senior Center have been offering healthy, hearty and balanced meals that people can purchase and take home. The meals are prepared weekly in the state-of-the-art kitchen and are designed to meet the needs of seniors, who often live alone or are homebound.
According to Coordinator of the Hospitality & Recreation Management Program, Pat Hutchinson, this type of learning gives QCC students valuable hands-on training, while teaching them about general healthy eating and the food needs of the public.
“We started to do these meals in order to offer nutritional, reasonably priced meals that may otherwise be out of a person’s reach. These meals have been very well-received,” said HRM Dietary Management Lab Site Supervisor, Rebecca King. “During the school year the students help plan the menu and prep and package the meals during their kitchen lab.”
All meals are targeted to be 500 calories or less total, packaged in eco-friendly durable packaging that is microwave safe, and designed to be served at home over the weekend. A label on the packaging indicates the meal, the ingredients and instructions for re-heating, as well as a use by date (meals are good for 5 days). Meals are based on a cycle menu that includes a rotation of proteins and incorporates seasonal offerings and products. The meals are offered every Friday throughout the year and are available to the public at a cost of $5 per meal. Reservations are due by Wednesday at noon for that Friday’s meal.
The weekly menu choice is posted in the Worcester Senior Center; is available at Bobby M’s Diner (located in the Worcester Senior Center) and is included in the senior newsletter.
“If someone would like a meal, they can simply call our reservation line 508.799.8068, or sign up in person in the diner,” Ms. King said. “We have many people that sign up for the month or several weeks a month.”
Meals are available for pick up at the Bobby M’s Diner, located at 128 Providence Street, Worcester (Inside the Worcester Senior Center) on Friday's until 3:00 p.m., some are available for pick up on Thursdays after 2:00 p.m., if requested and available. Check out the November menu .
For more information, contact Rebecca King at rking [at] qcc.umass.edu.