Council on Aging Brings Taste of Belgium to Seniors During Pandemic

Friday, May 8, 2020

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

SPRINGDALE, OHIO, May 8, 2020 One of Council on Aging’s (COA) top priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic is ensuring older adults in southwestern Ohio have access to food. Beginning May 11, COA will deliver breakfasts prepared by Taste of Belgium to older adults living in low-income senior apartment buildings. The partnership with Cincinnati-based Taste of Belgium is the second such partnership COA has engaged in to provide food – and comfort – to homebound older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. COA is also currently delivering LaRosa’s spaghetti meals, in additional to regular home-delivered meal service.

 COA received additional federal funding via the Ohio Department of Aging to expand meal service to seniors in need during this time. The funding enabled COA to provide emergency supplies of shelf-stable meals to home-delivered meals clients; enroll additional older adults onto the home-delivered meal program; and build local partnerships to provide food and comfort to low-income older adults.

  • COA delivered 15,000 boxes of emergency shelf-stable meals to clients enrolled in the home-delivered meal program. Each box contained a 14-day supply of food – that’s 210,000 meals.
  • Since March 16, more than 560 individuals who never before needed home-delivered meals have been enrolled onto the program due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines.
  • Partnering with LaRosa’s, COA and its network of service providers continue to deliver spaghetti meals to older adults living in low-income senior apartment buildings across COA’s service area. To date, nearly 4,200 meals have been delivered.
  • Partnering with Taste of Belgium, COA is set to begin delivering breakfast to older adults living in low-income senior apartment buildings the week of May 11.

“We are now two months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and though Ohio is slowly beginning to reopen, older adults will continue to feel the impact of the coronavirus for some time,” said Council on Aging CEO, Suzanne Burke. “While we’re focused on providing food, we also want to bring comfort to older adults and let them know they are not forgotten. We hope a special meal from Taste of Belgium or LaRosa’s is a welcome change of pace for older adults who are experiencing the effects of social isolation.”

During the pandemic, COA has adapted programs and services to ensure more than 26,000 clients continue to receive the services and support they need, while also serving other older adults who’ve been impacted by COVID-19 – many of whom have never needed assistance before. Because older adults are among the groups most at risk for severe complications from COVID-19, it is recommended they stay home and limit their exposure to other individuals. It is likely that these recommendations will continue even as Ohio begins to reopen this month.

“It’s rewarding to see the impact these meals are having on older adults in our community,” said Randy Quisenberry, COA’s director of provider relations. “I have been impressed with the level of teamwork, flexibility and commitment demonstrated by everyone involved in this effort – from the restaurants doing the cooking, and our providers delivering the meals, all the way down to the coordinators at each building where meals are delivered. This is work that makes you feel good. We all need that right now.”

Beginning Monday, May 11, COA will deliver breakfast prepared by Taste of Belgium to older adults in low-income senior apartment communities in Butler and Hamilton counties. By the end of the week, more than 1,000 meals will have been distributed, including:

  • Country-fried steak, waffle and scrambled eggs
  • Biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs and turkey sausage
  • Plain egg omelet, hash browns and turkey sausage

“This is an opportunity for us to bring some people back to work and to keep the lights on at our commissary,” said Jean-François Flechet, owner of Taste of Belgium. “But more importantly, it’s an opportunity to give back and to be a part of something good that’s happening in our community.”

The Taste of Belgium meals will be prepared by staff at the company’s Walnut Hill commissary. The prepared meals will be picked up by one of COA’s contracted home-delivered meal providers and delivered to older adults 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.

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 Taste of Belgium

Taste of Belgium is a restaurant group of Belgian-inspired eateries. We take traditional Belgian recipes and we twist them; we take American classics and we Belgianize them. For more information about Taste of Belgium, go to authenticwaffle.com.