Kennedy Seniors Recreation Centre. (Grace Kennedy photo)

LETTER: Cafeteria woes drive North Delta seniors away

When the cafeteria left the Kennedy Seniors Recreation Centre, so did some of the seniors

(RE: “Seniors centre struggling with engagement” NDR Vol. 3 No. 22, May 31, 2018)

Last week in the North Delta Reporter was an article about Kennedy House. I was very interested in the opinion that the membership had been dwindling. I would like to comment on that.

For over ten years I have very much enjoyed going to Kennedy House as a senior. I started to volunteer as a convener in 2009 and became more active as a convener of several groups during the last eight years. I also became a “regular” in the cafeteria during that period, turning the centre into my “home away from home’”with the people and the warmth of the cafeteria. Those sentiments were shared by many.

From a “layperson’s” perspective, I’ve observed the attendance (membership?) dwindle dramatically since our cafeteria was closed in November and December.

Previously, many many seniors came to the cafeteria to enjoy their “main meal” of the day and socialize. Those seniors stopped coming.

There was a small revival when a goodhearted Samaritan volunteered to make hearty soup and sandwiches for a few weeks early in the new year.

Meanwhile, the Board was trying to make a transition from an in-house cook to a catering company. They succeeded in hiring a catering company that started on Feb. 13.

Unfortunately, that company served only pureed soup for three weeks with the same four choices for sandwiches. Many gave them a chance for a few weeks but were disappointed when no “hearty” soups (like beef and barley or chicken noodle with lots of ingredients) or hot meals were offered. A menu with those kinds of choices had been available until last October.

After a few weeks, I witnessed many folks come in, take a look at the menu and leave. Finally, the new president insisted the hot meals start in April. Once-a-week hot meals were offered, but not like the hot meals that drew such crowds when there was an in-house cook running the kitchen with many volunteers. Lasagna, perogies with trimmings, meatloaf with trimmings, shepherd’s pie, liver and onions, etc. were big hits for the seniors until almost the end of October.

Unfortunately, the catering company did not pay attention to the dwindling numbers. The company seemed unprepared to offer what had worked so well before. That resulted in their business going downhill and wanting an early release from their contract.

For years, hot meals several times a week provided a great service to our seniors who live alone and the aged ones who need the socialization and nutritious meals at a reasonable price.

The message sent from those seniors was loud and clear!!!! They chose not to support the mediocre menu that was presented. Hence that was a strong contribution to the ‘dwindling’ membership.

I can only hope that a good service will once again be offered in our cafeteria and that many of those seniors will return.

-Patti McGregor, via email

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