Community Meals

Many Senior Centers and other community sites serve a nutritious meal at lunch to older adults in a social setting. Meals are served at congregate meal sites, known as “Senior Community Cafes,” congregate meals or, simply, lunch. These meals are in senior centers, elderly housing facilities, schools, churches, restaurants and other community settings. In addition to a hot lunch, these programs offer participants opportunities for socialization and developing informal support networks.

Many of the meal sites are part of the Elderly Nutrition Program and provide nutritionally balanced meals to individuals 60 years of age and over and their spouses. The Elderly Nutrition Program also provides nutrition screening, assessment, education and counseling to help participants meet their nutritional need.

For eligible participants who are not able to travel to a Senior Community Café, home-delivered meals may be provided.

Some providers may offer alternative programs. For example, New Opportunities in the Greater Waterbury area established a Senior Dine Program, a partnership between the organization and restaurants in the area. Participants can dine at participating restaurants who then bill the agency for the meal.

Eligibility Criteria

Community sites may establish eligibility criteria like residency, membership or age.

The Elderly Nutrition Program is a federally funded program and follows guidelines established by the Administration for Community Living and the State of Connecticut. Each participant is required to complete a registration form and, for home-delivered meals, an assessment is completed. Income is not considered. To be eligible, participants must be:

  • 60 years of age or older, or a spouse of an eligible participant
  • A person with a disability under 60 years of age who lives with an older person
  • A person with a disability under 60 years of age living in an elderly housing facility which has congregate meals sites

To be eligible for home-delivered meals provided through the Elderly Nutrition Program, participants must be unable to attend a Senior Community Café.

Services and Fees

Hot meals are available at lunch up to five days per week. Some sites may be open fewer days. Participants in the home-delivered meal program may receive up to two meals a day, seven days a week. Typically, the meals are delivered Monday through Friday.

In compliance with the Older Americans Act, there is a suggested donation for each meal provided through the Elderly Nutrition Program and this payment is voluntary. Other congregate meal or lunch programs may have fees as established by the site operator.

Financial Options for Congregate Meals

There is no payment required for the ENP, donations are always private pay.

Elderly Nutrition Program:
The Elderly Nutrition Program provides eligible older adults and people with disabilities nutritional meals at congregate meal sites or delivered to their home.

Find in Your Area

Contact your local Senior Center or the Area Agency on Aging in your region to find an Elderly Nutrition Program location near you.