Council on Aging (COA) recently received the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging (o4a) 2020 Outstanding AAA Partnership of the Year award. The award features a partnership with significant contributions, exemplary cooperation and innovative approaches for improving services to older adults.
The partnership award highlights COA’s work with comfort meal program partners LaRosa’s Pizzerias and Meals on Wheels Southwest OH and Northern KY (MOW). It was presented during o4a’s October virtual 2020 Conference for Aging and Disability and Resource Networks.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, COA has been providing meals to seniors that address not only food insecurity among older adults, but also the quality of life experienced by older adults during the pandemic. Because many seniors are not able to leave their homes, they feel forgotten and isolated. The pandemic makes these feelings even more intense.
To help ease the monotony felt by many older adults, COA sought out partnerships with local restaurants to bring comfort meals to older adults – particularly low-income older adults who are isolated in senior apartment buildings in parts of COA’s five-county service area.
LaRosa’s Pizzeria was the first restaurant to join COA in this effort and has provided more meals to date than any other restaurant in the program.
“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.”
Since April, LaRosa’s has provided nearly 13,000 COA comfort meals to area seniors. Delivering this volume of meals takes a lot of coordination, and to ensure the seniors received the meals in a timely manner, COA teamed with Meals on Wheels for assistance with delivery.
“Meals on Wheels is an outstanding partner, says Suzanne Burke, COA’s CEO. “They consistently work with speed, efficiency and the utmost professionalism.”
Through its comfort meal program, COA touches many lives and through the partnership with LaRosa’s and Meals on Wheels, COA reaches many older adults in need. The impact the program has on seniors can best be summed up by Cheryl, a resident of Belle Tower: “It was a very wonderful thing you did…It’s nice to have something from the outside since we can’t go out.”
More About COA’s Comfort Meal Program
COA’s comfort meal program is a community partnership. The meals are paid for by COA – via federal funds to expand meal service to older adults during the pandemic. In addition to LaRosa’s Pizzeria, the following restaurants have prepared meals for the program: Frisch’s, Taste of Belgium, C&M BBQ Grille, Chef Anthony Jordan, La Soupe, Neal’s Famous BBQ and Beaugard’s Southern Bar B Que. Other COA service providers, including Cincinnati Area Senior Services, Central Connections and Clinton County Community Action Program, have also helped to deliver meals through this program. Nearly 34,000 meals have been delivered to the doors of seniors in need since the start of the comfort meal program.
About Council on Aging Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio (COA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for older adults and their families.
Since 1974, COA has been designated by the state of Ohio as the Area Agency on Aging for Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton and Warren counties. COA plans, coordinates, funds and administers programs for an area that is home to more than 252,000 adults age 60 and older.
Seniors needing help are encouraged to call us at (513) 721-1025 or visit our website at help4seniors.org.
About the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging
The Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging (o4a) is a nonprofit, statewide network of agencies that provide services for older Ohioans, people with disabilities and their families. The Association engages in national and statewide advocacy to address issues which have an impact on the aging and disability network and older Ohioans and people with disabilities, provides services to members, and serves as a collective voice for Ohio’s Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs).