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Catherine Taylor, Director of the Rhode Island Division of Elderly Affairs (DEA), the agency that administers the congregate nutrition program with federal Older Americans Act dollars, announced today that the state’s five Senior Nutrition Providers are rolling out a fresh look for the dining program that serves seniors and adults with disabilities at 67 meal sites across Rhode Island.

The Senior Nutrition Program will now be known statewide as the Cafés.

For a number of years now, the new Café programs have been working to improve the healthfulness and attractiveness of their offerings. The new name reflects how the program is catering to the changing appetites of older Rhode Islanders.

The Senior Nutrition Providers are now officially known as the Blackstone Cafés, East Bay Cafés, Westbay Cafés, Northern Rhode Island Cafés (run by Senior Services, Inc. of Woonsocket) and Capitol City Cafés (run by Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island).

Each Cafe will eventually offer three meal choices daily for noontime dining enjoyment. The “spa option” for the health conscious features lighter fare such as a main course salad. The “pub option” offers a sandwich for those who want a traditional, wholesome lunch. And the “hearty option” provides a full, hot dinner for those who prefer their main meal at midday.

Each of the five regional Cafés will host a luncheon at one or more of their sites to celebrate the name change and new menus.

“Our diners have expressed a desire to have more flexible dining hours, a wider range of menu options, and healthier fare,” said Taylor. “We are responding by extending the popular Café concept statewide to all senior meal sites.

“We hope this new look conveys the reality of the senior nutrition program: the venues are friendly and inviting, and the food is healthy and delicious.

“I invite older Rhode Islanders to join me at one of our celebration Cafes during the month of March,” she said. “I am certain that once you try a Café meal, you’ll come back for more.”

The Cafes are complemented by Meals on Wheels’ growing cooperative arrangements with select local restaurants that honor vouchers for senior meals, expanding the geographical reach of senior dining as well as offering occasional breakfast and dinner opportunities.

DEA is also partnering with FarmFresh RI to find ways to bring fresh, local produce to the Café table.

The Cafes welcome all diners 60 and over (in the case of a married couple, only one spouse must be over 60), regardless of ability or income. Lunches are served five days a week. There is a suggested participant donation of $3 per meal to help sustain the program, which is funded through federal Older Americans Act dollars, although no one is turned away. SNAP beneficiaries may use their SNAP benefits to contribute toward their meal.

For planning purposes, diners are required to make meal reservations 24 hours in advance. Last year, senior community meals sites served nearly 338,000 meals.

 Regional Café events are scheduled as follows:

Tuesday, March 4-Westbay Cafés

Westbay Community Action, Inc.

The Café at The Center

25 St. Dominic Road, South Kingstown

11:30 a.m.

For reservations, call 789-0268.


Monday, March 10-East Bay Cafés

East Bay Community Action Program

The Café at Edward King House Senior Center

35 King Street, Newport

11:15 a.m.

For reservations, call 846-7426.


Thursday, March 13-Northern Rhode Island Cafés

The Café at Senior Services

Woonsocket Senior Center

84 Social Street

11:15 a.m.

For reservations, call 766-3734.


Thursday, March 20-Capital City Cafés

Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island, Inc.

The Café at St. Martin dePorres Center

160 Cranston Street, Providence

11:30 a.m.

For reservations, call 274-6783.


Wednesday, March 26-East Bay Cafés

East Bay Community Action Program.

The Café at Harbor View Manor

3663 Pawtucket Avenue, East Providence

11:15 a.m.

For reservations, call 270-2107.


Friday, March 28-East Bay Cafés

East Bay Community Action Program.

The Café at Warren Senior Center

20 Libby Lane

12:00 p.m.

For reservations, call 245-2474.


Monday, March 31-Blackstone Cafés

Blackstone Health, Inc.

The Café at Leon Mathieu Senior Center

420 Main Street, Pawtucket

11:15 a.m.

For reservations, call 728-5480.