June 13, 2018

Nutritionally Balanced, Free Meals Offered at Princeton Senior Center

By Anne Levin

At several meetings of Princeton Council during the past year, a resident expressed concerns about cancellation of a program providing free meals for senior citizens. On June 5, the municipality announced that the initiative is back, based at the Princeton Senior Resource Center’s Suzanne Patterson Building.

Mercer County is now offering nutritionally balanced meals Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., for county residents 60 or older, or married to a resident 60 or older. Participants are encouraged to make a donation toward meals received.

Lunches provided each day include an appetizer, main entree, vegetables, bread, beverage, and dessert. All meals are specifically planned to provide at least one-third of an older person’s daily nutritional needs by a qualified nutritionist.

The Princeton location is the latest to be added to Mercer County’s participation in the Nutrition Project for the Elderly. Additional locations include senior centers in Ewing Township, East Windsor, Lawrence Township, Pennington/Hopewell, Robbinsville, and Trenton.

The Nutrition Project for the Elderly is an offshoot of the Older Americans Act, which provides for many of the needs of the elderly in the United States. One of these needs was determined to be nutrition. Meals are served in centers that bring people together for activities and social contact.

In the past, the county offered shuttle bus service between Princeton and the program at the Lawrence Senior Center. Free meals for seniors were provided at the Mt. Pisgah AME Church on Witherspoon Street for 30 years, but were discontinued, according to Mayor Liz Lempert.

The resident who complained about the fact that Princeton no longer had free meals for seniors “raised concerns, and we listened,” Lempert said on Monday. “We are very thankful to her for raising the issue. This was an important program to bring back to Princeton.”

Implementing the initiative took some time. “We needed to get special equipment, and there were other bureaucratic hurdles,” Lempert said. “But thanks to the county, Susan Hoskins of the Princeton Senior Resource Center, [health officer] Jeff Grosser, and the municipality’s point person, it is up and running.”