Senior Supper Program in Full Swing during Winter Season

Thursday, January 16, 2014

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Once again a team of dedicated volunteers, staff, and community activists are coming together to provide a warm, hearty and wholesome meal to area seniors through the Senior Supper program.

Senior Suppers originated as a hospital-based, low-cost monthly meal offered as part of Good Samaritan’s longstanding Community Benefits programs.  After reviewing information from needs assessments as well as input from Community Benefits Council members, the Senior Supper was transformed.

“We saw the same people coming to our Suppers every month.  And, while that was very gratifying, we did not feel that we were fully meeting the needs of our most vulnerable elders,” says Monique Aleman, VP of Communications at Good Samaritan Medical Center. “So we reached out to our community advisors and came up with a new model that has been working wonders for more than a year.”

The Senior Supper is now “on the road” and has become a collaborative initiative between several local health and human service organization including St. Joseph’s Manor, Brockton Housing Authority, Catholic Charities, and Trinity Catholic Academy. Each plays a crucial role in making the new and improved senior suppers successful. “We bring the services to where they are needed the most,” says Debbie Mayer, Director of Mission for St. Joseph Manor.  “Every month we visit a senior Brockton Housing Authority facility and bring all of our services right to where they live.” Healthy meals tailored to the needs of elders are graciously prepared and provided by Rosa’s Catering of Easton, MA.

Volunteers from each of the organizations involved, serve the meals while others take the meals to seated attendees with limited mobility. The occasion has been known to fill to capacity the community rooms of each of the Brockton Housing Authority Senior Living complexes that the program visits.

On January 23, 2014 the team will be at Belair Towers in Brockton starting at 5:00 PM.  With attendance at each Senior Supper averaging approximately 80 seniors, over 800 residents of the Brockton community benefit from this service on an annual basis.  Funding is provided by Good Samaritan Medical Center and other donations are secured by the partnering agencies.  Generous volunteer support deserves much of the accolades.

“Senior Suppers are not just about reaching out to provide a nutritious meal,” says Amanda Voysey, Patient Advocate for Good Samaritan Medical Center.  “The agenda includes an opportunity to receive valuable information on health topics that the seniors have requested.  I have enjoyed speaking about the importance of Health Care Proxy’s, for example, while some of my colleagues address specific health conditions such as diabetes or stress.  Health insurance is always a popular topic,” she notes.

January’s topic of choice is Elder Safety including, identity security and scam protection. All attendees are encouraged to bring questions, and usually there are plenty. The relaxed and inviting atmosphere that is created during the event helps those in attendance feel at ease and more apt to interact and socialize.

While always reminded to visit their primary care provider for health concerns, it is heartening to see so many seniors talking to each other, sharing stories and giving each other advice and words of encouragement. Thanks to community partnerships, the goal of offering support, companionship, access to health resources, and a warm meal is met, made evident by the many thanks received by those who have attended these events over the past 15 months.

“We are excited to resume another cycle of Senior Suppers in 2014,” says Fred Welsh, BAMSI, Director of Resident Services, working in collaboration with the Brockton Housing Authority.  “At one Supper last year, a capable senior was offered part-time work which is clear evidence that the outreach, ease of access, and networking can make huge differences in the quality of life of individuals.  We are proud to host these programs and know our residents look forward to them month after month.”


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