Council on Aging partners with Taste of Belgium to deliver comfort meals in Warren County

It takes two to tango – even during a pandemic.

That’s why Council on Aging (COA) and local restaurant group, Taste of Belgium, partnered to deliver comfort meals to low-income senior buildings, ensuring our community’s older neighbors felt remembers and special during this difficult time.  

Pre-prepared meals were delivered to Warren County senior buildings on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. The meals provided a much needed change of pace for the seniors, and when meals were delivered to Station Hill Apartments in Lebanon, Jessica, the manager, took them straight to the residents’ apartments because, as she said, “the residents were waiting for [the meals,] so they could put them in their fridge or eat them right then.”

Some residents did save the meal for later. Michelle, a 64-year old Station Hill resident, put her meal in the refrigerator and saved the country fried steak with gravy, scrambled eggs and Belgian waffle for dinner that night. When she was ready to eat, she heated the steak in a skillet, the waffle in the toaster, and the eggs and gravy in the microwave. “It was wonderful to eat something else besides my groceries that I get online,” she said.

Another Station Hill resident, Gail, 75, ate hers right then and there. “I had already made breakfast earlier,” she said, “so I went ahead and ate [the Taste of Belgium meal] for lunch. I’ve heard many people say they like the meals – especially the waffles. They’re delicious.”

Meals were also delivered to Lebanon’s Bentley Woods Apartments. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, those delivering the meals were not permitted inside the building, so Bob, the manager, met them outside and delivered the meals to each resident himself, just before lunchtime that day.

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“They have all been troopers,” Bob remarked of the residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. “They understood why we had to close the common areas, and why we stressed social distancing. Some still don’t wear masks all the time, but [the residents] still do social distancing.”

Charlotte, 79, a Bentley Woods resident, is able to go out for groceries when she is not cross-stitching or cleaning out her drawers. “Of course, we’re all stressed [because of COVID-19] but it is wonderful that Council on Aging thinks of us and delivers the meals. I have heard women talking in the stairwell here,” she continued with a smile, “they really like the meals. I overheard them say they are trying to lose weight, so they put the waffle aside, but enjoyed everything else.”

When meals were also delivered to Union Village Apartments in South Lebanon, Jan, the Union Village manager, put them on a cart and delivered them door to door. “Ohhh, getting meals from a restaurant is so special [for the residents],” she said. “It’s sort of like a birthday or Christmas – it makes everyone happy!”

Mary, a 76-year-old Union Village resident whole heartedly agreed. “The meals were wonderful! We’re country – we’re used to gravy and carbs and comfort food,” Mary said, referring to the Taste of Belgium country fried steak and gravy that was part of the meal. “We shouldn’t have [carbs] all the time, but we like it.”