Senior Center Curbside Lunch Service Deemed ‘A Great Thing’
Jim Gulalo pulled his minivan to the front entrance of Newtown Senior Center on March 25. After rolling down his window, the first thing he did was give a thumbs up.
“This is a great thing,” Gulalo said. Even through the protection of a face mask, it was clear Gulalo was smiling. He had a message for the first selectman, he said.
“Tell Dan Rosenthal this: this is a good thing,” Gulalo said. “This is how you take care of people.”
The owner of Preferred Insurance, Gulalo knows about taking care of people. On Wednesday, he was referring to a curbside lunch program launched a day earlier through the Senior Center.
CW Resources, the meal site provider for Newtown Senior Center, this week began providing prepackaged lunches for senior citizens instead of serving them at the center. It is one more way residents are adapting to the current environment of social distancing, and doing everything possible to not get sick from novel coronavirus.
The service launched on Tuesday, March 24, and 13 residents took advantage of the curbside service. Wednesday’s numbers were a little higher, and Senior Center staff hope they will continue to grow in upcoming weeks.
Just before 11 am, Wednesday, Lee DeLucia rolled a cart out to the lobby of the Senior Center. Having already donned gloves and a face mask, the CW café manager had the prepacked entrées on one cart, and bags with the sides and desserts on a second cart. She stood just inside the northern lobby of 8 Simpson Street, waiting for those who had registered for lunches to arrive for their pick ups.
Meals are provided cold in containers that can be heated at home. Each includes a main course, sides — including a vegetable, dessert, and milk, and the option of margarine.
Meals are available Monday through Thursday. Curbside pickup is between 11 am and 12:30 pm at the Senior Center.
Lunches for Monday and Tuesday are distributed on Mondays; lunches for Wednesday and Thursday are to be picked up on Wednesdays. Menus for the following week are also tucked in with each meal.
A suggested donation of $3 per meal (cash only at meal pick up). is requested for meals.
Contact the Senior Center at 203-270-4310 to order lunches. Orders should be placed one week in advance.
Those who have not already registered for the congregate meal program at the Senior Center can complete the registration form required by CW Resources, at the same time they pick up their meal.
The program is open to all of Newtown’s senior citizen population. Membership in Newtown Senior Center is not required.
A Gift With Each Lunch
When they are picked up, each lunch is also accompanied by gift bags. Local organizations have donated items, ranging from books, tea bags, chocolate, and cookies to lotions, crossword puzzle books, recipe cards, hand sanitizer, and more.
The bags are being filled with donations from The Cascades Bethel, Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center, The Chamber of Commerce of Newtown, Church Hill Village, The Hearth at Southbury, Maplewood of Newtown, Old Glory Days, Visiting Angels, and Wesley50Village, among others.
Senior Center Assistant Judy Thomas this week said the bags have a variety of items. She has already heard from businesses that are planning to extend invitations further, adding to the variety of items that will continue to go into the gift bags.
She has also already received positive feedback for the bags.
“One caregiver already told me that the man she takes care of has been so depressed,” Thomas said March 25. “The little gifts in that bag, she said, made him so happy.”
In addition to sending home lunches, Senior Center staff has been e-mailing links for exercise classes “and other ideas to engage at home,” Jackson said this week.
The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary is offering pet food support (cats and/or dogs) for homebound Newtown seniors. Those residents can also contact the Senior Center for more information or to request pet food.
Dry food in plastic bags have been portioned out. Distribution will also be done during the middle of the day.
Following is the planned menu for April as provided by Newtown Senior Center. Menu items are subject to change. The Newtown Bee will also print menus in upcoming issues.
March 30-April 3 — Monday: Mild coconut curry chicken, jasmine rice, stir-fry vegetable blend, and angel food cake with strawberries; Tuesday: Ziti with meatballs, Italian blend vegetables, garlic bread, oatmeal cream pie, and grape juice; Wednesday: Stuffed shells, broccoli, garden salad with thousand island dressing, Italian bread, and pears; Thursday: beef stew over brown rice, green beans, whole wheat dinner roll, tropical fruit cup, and grape juice;
April 6-9 — Monday: Sloppy joe on bun, mashed potatoes, corn, pineapple chunks; Tuesday: Low-salt sliced ham with pineapple-cherry sauce, loaded potatoes, peas & pearl onions, Rudi roll, Easter poke cake with topping, and apple juice; Wednesday: Hearty vegetable soup, unsalted crackers, oven roasted turkey & Swiss on hard roll macaroni salad, and peach cobbler with topping; Thursday: Garlic baked chicken with spinach and parmesan, cheesy mushroom rice, Geneva blend vegetables, whole wheat bread, pudding cup, and apple juice;
April 13-16 — Monday: Salisbury steak, scalloped potatoes, carrots, dinner roll, and cinnamon applesauce; Tuesday: Bruschetta chicken, mashed potato, spinach, pumpernickel bread, pears, and apple juice; Wednesday: Cheeseburger, lettuce &tomato, on a bun, steak fries, oatmeal cookies, and orange juice; Thursday: BBQ pork, hamburger roll, baked beans, coleslaw, and orange juice;
April 20-23 — Monday: Chicken Marsala, mashed potatoes, spinach, wheat bread, and tropical fruit cup; Tuesday, Knockwurst, hot dog bun, apples & sauerkraut, broccoli, and pears; Wednesday: turkey tetrazzini, brown rice, green beans, dinner roll, chocolate chip cookies, and cranberry juice; Thursday: meatloaf, low-salt gravy, baked potato, broccoli and carrots, oatmeal bread, and banana;
April 27-30 — Monday: Mild coconut curry chicken, jasmine rice, stir-fry vegetable blend, potato bread, and angel food cake with strawberries; Tuesday: Ziti with meatballs, Italian blend vegetables, garlic bread, rice pudding, and grape juice; Wednesday: Seafood salad, lettuce and tomato on hot dog roll, pasta primavera, corn chowder, unsalted crackers, and banana; Thursday: BBQ chicken, BBQ sauce, tater tots, black beans & corn, corn muffin, and applesauce.