COA and LaRosa's provide 2,000 meals to seniors in need

Friday, April 24, 2020

Seniors who need help during COVID-19 crisis should call (513) 721-1025

COA Media Contact: Paula Smith, Communications Manager, (513) 509-9211 or psmith@help4seniors.org

LaRosas mealsSPRINGDALE, OHIO, April 24, 2020 Council on Aging (COA) and LaRosa’s Pizzerias continue to partner to warm the hearts and bellies of vulnerable seniors during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Since April 16, LaRosa’s has prepared 1,200 meals for older adults living in low-income senior apartment buildings in Hamilton and Butler counties. Additional deliveries in Warren County and other parts of COA’s service area the week of April 27 will bring the total to approximately 2,000 meals.

“We are all experiencing the effects of stay-at-home orders and social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, but seniors are feeling especially vulnerable and isolated right now,” said Council on Aging CEO Suzanne Burke. “Our hope was that the LaRosa’s meals would be a welcome change of pace for seniors in these buildings and a reminder that they have not been forgotten. The feedback we’ve received so far confirms this. Through phone calls and handwritten notes, seniors have reached out to us to express their gratitude,” Burke said.

Because seniors are among the groups most at risk for severe complications from COVID-19, they are being advised to stay home and limit their exposure to other individuals. It is likely that these recommendations will continue even after Ohio begins to lift restrictions on May 1.  COA has been working to meet the needs of seniors who have been impacted by COVID-19 – many of whom have never needed assistance before.

During the pandemic, COA has adapted programs and services to ensure more than 26,000 clients continue to receive services and support they rely on, with a particular focus on meals. COA has received additional federal funding via the Ohio Department of Aging to expand meal service to seniors in need during this time. In addition to the LaRosa’s meals, COA has been enrolling eligible older adults onto the home-delivered meals program and also worked with its provider network to deliver more than 7,500 emergency food boxes to home-delivered meals recipients in five counties.

“We had already been talking with LaRosa’s about how they could supplement the work our provider network does to feed seniors in our region during this pandemic,” said Randy Quisenberry, COA’s director of procurement and provider services. “I have been impressed with the level of teamwork and commitment the LaRosa’s team has demonstrated throughout this project. They have been a tremendous partner in serving seniors during this difficult time.”

“These are such challenging times for everyone, but especially for seniors,” said Mike LaRosa, CEO of LaRosa’s, Inc. “We’re all in this together, and that’s how we’re going to get through it. So, we were happy to do our part to help Council of Aging serve these seniors,” he said.

Delivering LaRosa’s meals to seniors is truly a cooperative effort. Meals are prepared by LaRosa’s staff at the company’s Boudinot Ave. location. The prepared meals are then picked up by one of COA’s contracted home-delivered meals providers, including Cincinnati Area Senior Services, Central Connections, and Meals on Wheels of Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky. The meal provider then delivers the meals to seniors in pre-identified buildings.

To ensure social distancing guidelines and protect the health, safety and privacy of residents in the buildings, the meals are delivered to an on-site coordinator at each building who then distributes the meals to residents.

The meals include spaghetti with LaRosa’s famous family recipe sauce and meatball (to be heated by recipient), a salad, bread sticks and condiments.

“We couldn’t think of a better partner to have in this effort because Buddy LaRosa and his family have been long-time supporters of the county senior services levies we administer in our service area. In fact, Buddy was a caregiver himself,” Burke said.

About Council on Aging: Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio (COA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing quality of life for older adults, people with disabilities, their families and caregivers.  COA promotes choice, independence, dignity and well-being through a range of services that help people remain independent for as long as possible. 

 COA is a state-designated Area Agency on Aging serving Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton and Warren counties. One call to COA links people to the wide variety of agencies, information and programs that serve older adults and people with disabilities.

 Regional Headquarters:

175 Tri County Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45246 | 513-721-1025 | 800-252-0155 | www.help4seniors.org

About LaRosa’s: LaRosa’s was founded in 1954 on Cincinnati’s West Side by Buddy LaRosa. It is now a $167 million restaurant company with 65 pizzerias serving neighborhoods in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.  To learn more about LaRosa’s, go to www.larosas.com.