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Hearty Meals Served For Community Seniors
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Volunteer Eleanor Borroel gets ready to deliver lunch trays with a smile at the Senior Meal program on Thursday, Sept. 2. The meals are offered Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Escalon Community Center. Marg Jackson/The Times

Senior Meals for those 60 and older are now being served up at the Escalon Community Center two times a week. Food is coming from the Stockton Community Kitchen at Bella Vista, which took over providing the service when the in-person meals could again be offered.

Helping coordinate the program, though she doesn’t have a specific title, is local volunteer Karen Corey. She said diners have been pleased with the change, as there seems to be plenty of variety with the meals.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Senior Meal program sees the Community Center on Escalon Avenue open at 10 a.m., for a senior exercise class and some socialization, and the meal is served starting at 11 a.m.

“The county asks for a $3 donation if they can,” Corey said of diners paying for the meal. “I have the donation box on the sign-in table or there are envelopes to mail in a check.”

As in the past, they plan to have a birthday celebration, with cake, once a month to celebrate with those diners having a birthday. They also hope to bring back occasional entertainment and sometimes have fresh fruits or vegetables for seniors to take home. Also, Bill Hillman has taken over as leader of the Senior Gentle Exercise Class.

Volunteers help set up and serve the food, with recent meals including chicken enchiladas, apple glazed pork chops, chicken pot pie and more.

The meals are designed to help meet dietary needs with vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein featured in each meal.

Still to come this month at the Escalon site are teriyaki chicken, old fashioned beef stew, meatloaf, and garlic and herb crusted pork loin, with a variety of sides offered with each entrée.

“For now you can sit and eat your lunch or we pack it to go,” Corey added.

Meals on Wheels, which delivers food to those unable to get to the site, is offered through a different county program.

“We love it,” said diner Donna Croce, who lives just across the street from the Community Center at the Heritage House senior complex. Many of the regular diners are from that location. “The food is good.”

“We’re regulars, and best friends,” added Donna Wells.

Bill Hillman, who runs the exercise, agreed that “it is really good” food and everyone attending is enjoying the variety of the meals.

All those 60 and older are welcome to attend, regardless of ability to pay.

Corey said they want to make sure local seniors know that they can once again come in to eat and socialize, something that wasn’t possible during the height of the pandemic shutdown.

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A table full of diners gets ready to enjoy lunch at the Escalon Community Center, which hosts the twice-weekly Senior Meal program and is always looking for more local residents to join in the meal and camaraderie. Marg Jackson/The Times