Marlborough Senior Center seeks to revamp lunch program

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Marlborough Senior Center seeks to revamp lunch program
The Marlborough Senior Center is in the process of upgrading its lunch program. By year’s end, the center hopes to have a chef in place to provide lunches twice a week. (Photo/Maureen Sullivan)

MARLBOROUGH – A grant from the Cummings Foundation will help the Marlborough Senior Center recharge its lunch program.

Earlier this summer, the center received a $75,000 grant, over a three-year period, to hire a chef and offer in-house lunch items twice per week.

“It will allow walk-in service and make it much more user friendly,” said center Executive Director Trish Pope.

She said when the senior center first opened in 2015, the kitchen was run by a center regular in a “quid pro quo” arrangement – lunches prepared at the center in exchange for the regular using the kitchen for a catering service.

After a couple of years, the center entered an arrangement with Quinsigamond Community College where students would come to the center and prepare lunches. However, because of a lack of transportation to and from Worcester, the arrangement did not last very long.

The current program began a couple of years ago. The center sent requests for proposals to local restaurants. Kennedy’s Restaurant and Market responded; it brings an entrée Mondays and Fridays at noon to the Center Grille. The cost, which is subsidized by the center, is $7 for each meal.

Participants must make a reservation and pay for the meal by noon the day prior; there are no substitutions and no takeout.

“It’s been a great collaboration,” said Pope. 

However, the subsidy does not completely cover the costs, and Pope would like to see more variety with the menu. She said the job description for the chef may be on the agenda at the City Council’s next meeting on July 22. 

“We’re looking to hire someone 10 to 12 hours per week,” she said.

In addition to the meals, Pope said the new program could help senior residents with socialization.

“Going to the center twice a week for lunch is twice a week not being alone and watching TV,” she said.

Should everything receive approval from the city, and a chef is hired, the new program could go online sometime this fall.

Other programs

Pope said the center has entered a busy summer season.

Special programs for July include a presentation of “The Greatest Sitcoms of All Time” with Martin Gitlin on Wednesday, July 17, and “Learn and Lunch” about MassHealth on July 23. There’s also Bingo, card games, book club, a technology help group and more.

For details, call the Marlborough Senior Center at 508-485-6492, or visit www.marlborough-ma.gov/council-aging.

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