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Leon County restaurants, organizations team up to provide 'Meals of Love' for local seniors

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Posted at 10:06 AM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 10:09:18-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Restaurants and organizations are setting up pop-up hot meal sites to provide local seniors with nutritious meals during the COVID-19 crises.

Next week, the Area Agency on Aging for North Florida, Inc. along with Elder Care Services, Inc in partnership with local restaurants will be launching Meals of Love .

Organizers say hot meals will be served by volunteers and trained restaurant staff to seniors who will not even have to leave their vehicles.

The pop-up sites are designed to allow registered seniors to drive up, pop their trunks and leave with a hot meal.

All volunteers will be adhering to strict CDC guidelines, wearing gloves and masks and will be practicing social distancing.

A variation of the Meals of Love program first launched in Central Florida by a sister agency.

“The global COVID-19 pandemic may have changed the way we operate, but it certainly has not stopped us from looking for creative ways to continue serving our most vulnerable,” said Lisa Bretz, Executive Director of Area Agency on Aging for North Florida Inc. “We thank Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Richard Prudom for their efforts in facilitating this effort along with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.”

The Department of Elder Affairs recently announced this new effort which allowed restaurants and food establishments to become emergency meal vendors for Florida’s seniors who are either homebound or self- isolating for protection.

“This effort is truly an example of how public and private sectors can come together when there is a need,” said Jocelyne Fliger, CEO Elder Care Services. “This not only helps the seniors we serve, but it also allows us to give back by investing in our favorite restaurants and keeping their workers working.”

Officials say in Leon County alone, Elder Care is providing more than 1500 meals a week to some 300 home-bound seniors.

Elder Care will be serving eligible seniors who are 60 or older and who are in need of a hot meal.

In order to provide appropriate meals they are only able to serve preregistered seniors.

Dates and locations of pop up sites will be announced each week and they will be operational from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

Organizers say participating restaurants will be taking special care to ensure that meals that are served meet health and dietary guidelines.

For information on seniors meal options and participation in Meals of Love pop up sites, please call the Elder Helpline at 1-800-963-5337 for registration.