2014-03-21 / Senior Savvy

Almost a Free Lunch

By Florence Archambault

It has been said that there is no such thing as a free lunch, but the meals served at noon in Aquidneck Island’s senior centers come pretty darn close. Sponsored by the East Bay Community Action Program (EBCAP) and Ocean State Senior Dining, the meals have returned to the Edward King House and continue to be provided at the Middletown and Portsmouth senior centers and at Donovan Manor at 19 Chapel St. in Newport.

The program makes hot, nutritious meals available Monday through Friday to persons 60 years of age and older and/or handicapped individuals. For those aged 60+, a donation of $3 is suggested. For those under age 60, a $5 fee is charged. Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance, and you have a choice of a full hot or cold meal.

The food at these sites is restaurant quality and usually consists of soup or salad, an entrée, and dessert along with a beverage. An example would be a bowl of beef vegetable soup, homemade chicken pot pie with winter blend veggies, a croissant, and fresh fruit. If you opt for the cold meal you might enjoy honey ham on a croissant along with soup and dessert. Recent entrees have included veal Parmesan, Swedish meatballs, a breaded pork chop with gravy, and Italian sausage with peppers and onions – and that’s just a sampling!

Not only is the food nourishing and filling, but there is the added plus of enjoying your meal with others rather than eating at home alone. Everyone knows that meals are tastier when accompanied by companionship and good conversation.

EBCAP has recently implemented the new Senior Restaurant Program for those over age 60. Vouchers for the program, which must be obtained prior to dining, are available at the Edward King House Senior Center at 35 King St. A donation of $5 is suggested.

The vouchers are redeemable at Middletown’s IHOP restaurant at 159 West Main Rd. daily between 7-10 a.m. and 4:30-8 p.m. Program patrons are able to select from a limited menu of five nutritionallybalanced entrées.

March is National Nutrition Month and the Portsmouth Senior Center is offering a presentation by Chef Bonnie Rondine, Director of Food Services at St. Elizabeth Manor in Bristol, on baking delicious and nutritious items on Friday, March 28 at 2 p.m. She will present tips on using whole grains and fruits to make your baked goods more nutrient rich. Mouthwatering recipes will be shared and samples provided. Call 401-683-4106 to reserve your space.

Also on Sunday, March 23 Portsmouth Rotary Club will sponsor a breakfast buffet benefit at the Portsmouth Center from 8-11:30 a.m. There will be pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, juice and coffee or tea on the menu. Tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for children under 10. Tickets are for sale at the door or at the center’s office.

The Middletown Senior Center is offering a special day trip on Wednesday, March 26 to the John Brown House in Providence for $25. The price includes a high tea, transportation, and a tour of the house. This is the first time that the John Brown Museum has offered a formal high tea for guests and is a great opportunity to experience a formal tea in the opulent setting of an 18th-century mansion.

Finally, the Edward King House is asking you to save the date of Saturday, May 3 when they will hold their Run for the Roses Spring Gala at 5 p.m. at the King House. This is a fundraiser to support the good works of the center. You can look forward to fine dining and drink, a silent auction, a racing raffle, music and dancing. To honor the fine Southern fashion traditions, guests are encouraged to wear attire appropriate to the occasion. And don’t forget those hats! More information will be coming later.

It is apparent that there are many opportunities on our island to enjoy nutritious food and good companionship. Take time and make time for food, fun and friends – it’s more important than you think!

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