Two years ago, after an intense year of surveys, meetings and detailed analysis, the Menlo Park Senior Center
staff proposed leaving the County of San Mateo's Congregate Nutrition program to explore cooking in-house.
On July 1, 2014, Menlo Diner started serving meals prepared on-site to seniors coming to the Senior Center. Since that time, specialty meals such as tacos, empanadas, fish fry, barbecue ribs, stuffed bell peppers, lasagna and chicken cordon bleu have provided the seniors with a tasty lunch to enjoy.
It was not surprising to find out the number of meals served each year also reflected this healthy, delicious change. In 2013-14, the last year County contract, 9586 meals were served. In 2015-16, the most recent year ending June 30, 2016, over 10,610 meals were served. This increase of 1,024 (10.7 percent) highlights the popularity of the new program. Cash donations for the meals also reflects the increase in program participants and the satisfaction in the program. In May 2014, the senior donations were $14,449. But in the last two years that has increased to $19,857, an increase of $5,408 (37.4 percent).
This year, with new collaboration and sponsorship from Facebook, much of the senior meal program costs will be offset.