Popular Seniors Meal Program Looks to Resume in January 2024Nov 21, 2023 02:19PM ● By Thomas J. Sullivan
The Crossroads Community Center behind the Sylvan Library at 6742 Auburn Boulevard is the preferred location for a planned Meals on Wheels senior cafe. Photo courtesy of Sunrise Recreation and Parks District
CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - A popular Meals on Wheels program, its All-Seasons Café, which offered hot meals to seniors Monday through Friday living in Citrus Heights, is looking to resume in early 2024, once an agreement between all participating parties can be finalized, said Ash Feeney, Citrus Heights city manager.
The popular hot meal program, sponsored by Meals on Wheels which gave seniors a place to meet and socialize, was suspended during the pandemic and did not resume in Citrus Heights.
The All-Seasons Café is an in-person, restaurant-style space, with each lunch hosting typically 20-90 seniors per meal.
The Crossroads Community Center facility has a complete kitchen, seating capacity for 60 people and has hosted small gatherings including weddings, birthday parties and meetings. Photo courtesy of Sunrise Recreation and Parks District
The two nearest Meals on Wheels café sites are located at the Mission Oaks Community Center at 4701 Gibbons Drive in Carmichael and in the Rio Linda Elverta Recreation and Park District, 810 Oak Lane, in Rio Linda.
“We’ve been listening to seniors in Citrus Heights who said they very much would like to see the (All-Seasons Café) meal program resume,” Feeney said.
In September, Jennifer Massello, director of programs for Meals on Wheels in Sacramento and Francisco Alvarado, a Meals on Wheels Café program specialist said in an email they were both interested in finding a café partner in Citrus Heights and whom to contact at the city for further information. Their inquiry was shared with Ash Feeney.
An initial meeting between a team of city officials which was led by Feeney and the Sunrise Recreation and Parks District to consider the matter took place on November 9th.
With the issue brought to the attention of all parties, a collaborative effort between all parties has been underway to resume the program, Feeney said. Hours of operation and a final location have yet to be determined.
“Nicole Piva, Sunrise Park and Recreation District (SPRD) district administrator Kevin Huntzinger, and Jennifer Massello and Krystal Sharpnack with Meals on Wheels have toured two sites, the Rusch Park Community Room and the Crosswoods Community Center behind Sylvan Oaks Library, for consideration,” Feeney said. Piva serves as the city’s housing and human services program coordinator.
“The Crosswoods Community Center which is located in Crosswoods Park at 6742 Auburn Blvd. is the preferred option,” Feeney said. “This is a great location, it’s accessible, and available on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday where it can be used for the All-Seasons Café program.”
The center is located at the intersection of Auburn and Van Maren, behind the Sylvan Library. Crossroads Park is situated in a serene natural wooded area with a year-long stream and has been used for small gatherings including weddings, birthday parties and meetings. The facility has a complete kitchen, seating capacity for 60 people and has hosted small gatherings including weddings, birthday parties and meetings.
In a recent email, Feeney said the next step will be for SRPD to formalize an agreement with Meals on Wheels to resume the All-Seasons Café which will then require approval of the SRPD board at its upcoming December 13th meeting.
Another similar presentation to board members of the state Agency on Aging/Area 4 will also take place at a future date, Feeney said. Agency on Aging/Area 4 is one of 33 area agencies on aging (AAAs) in California. In Sacramento County, the state has projected there will be more older people than young people by 2030.
Representatives of Meals on Wheels will have to obtain a required Health and Safety Permit and file for a charitable food fee application with the state. The shared goal between all parties including the city of Citrus Heights, SRPD and Meals on Wheels is to relaunch the Citrus Heights All Seasons Café in mid-January 2024, Feeney said.
The objective of Meals on Wheels, which currently serves seniors 60+ years of age, is to keep seniors in their homes and communities longer by providing nutritious meals, safety net services, social contact, community resource information and much more.
A Citrus Heights city web page features helpful information on senior resources and local programs at: www.citrusheights.net/486/Senior-Resources
The city webpage does note that the All-Season Café has not yet resumed but does describe other alternative meal programs which Citrus Heights seniors may want to consider.
Home delivered meals are also available to seniors aged 60+ who are homebound due to illness or recovery, disability, or other causes which may prevent them from leaving their homes. Eligible participants may receive either hot, home-delivered meals every weekday or a box of five frozen meals once a week.
Seniors who are interested in Meals on Wheels ongoing home-delivered meal program, can call (916) 444-9533 for more information.
The Citrus Heights Community Center also has a dedicated Senior Room available for local seniors to play cards, eat together, laugh, and simply enjoy each other’s company. The senior room is located at 6300 Fountain Square Drive and is open to the public Monday-Friday from 9:00 am to 4 pm. Seniors who are interested in programs at the Citrus Heights Community Center can call (916) 727-5400 for further information.