A senior-centered community café is a place where seniors can go to enjoy each other’s company. They can be active in the kitchen if they want, volunteer to help serve meals, or just come to enjoy a low-cost meal that is healthy.
Many senior-centered community cafés operate on a donation system. If you can afford to pay for the meal, then they ask that you do so. If you cannot, then come to have something to eat anyway.
The average suggested donation for a lunch is just $2.50. For the cafés which serve dinner (supper), the average suggested donation is $4.00.
How Do I Qualify for These Community Cafés?
Senior-centered community cafés set their own age and income restrictions for participation. Many of them require participants to be at least 60 years old, though some programs welcome people who are 55+. Anyone who has a physical or mental disability may be invited to the café regardless of age with many of the programs.
Some programs may require seniors to live in a housing facility that is designed for retirees or senior living.
Most programs do not have a specified income requirement as part of their application process. Some cafés don’t even require an application – just an ID that verifies your age is what you say it is.
Many of these programs are busy, so a reservation or appointment may be necessary. Check with your local program to see if you’ll need to reserve your seat.
What If I Can’t Meet the Financial Obligation of the Café?
Some senior-centered community cafés do require a mandatory payment to take advantage of the services provided. The café in Boulder, CO, for example, charges $5 per person for lunch. If you cannot afford the required cost, then check with the organizer of the program.
Many of the senior-centered cafés that are serving on a regular schedule are also working with meal delivery programs, such as Meals on Wheels.
To receive home deliveries, you’ll be asked to fill out a short questionnaire or application. These programs are often funded by non-profit organizations, with many receiving zero government funding for their supports.
To qualify for a home delivery program, there is usually an income requirement that must be met. In Hillsborough Country, NH, for example, home-bound individuals cannot earn an income of more than $1,218 per month to receive this service.
What Does Each Meal Provide to Seniors?
The meals offered through the café program are designed to provide one-third of the recommended dietary allowances which seniors need for good health. These programs are supervised and approved by registered dieticians to ensure the meals contain everything needed.
Most programs will provide milk, bread, and a dessert with the basic essentials as well. Check to see where your local program is located, then ask to see the current menu to get an idea of what is being provided.
When living on a fixed income, food is one of the biggest expenses you face. These cafés make sure you get the healthy food you need without killing your budget to get it. Talk to your local program today to see what services you may qualify for.