[by Phyllis Shaikun]
The Jewish Community of Louisville’s lunch program for seniors at the Jewish Community Center has been in existence for over 20 years and the award-winning program is the only certified kosher meal site in the state. The delicious, nutritious, home-cooked lunches, offered for a nominal fee, are served Mondays through Fridays from 12-1 p.m. The timing also leaves ample opportunity for seniors to participate in the Center’s pre- and post-lunch programs.
“Our nutrition program encompasses all of our other senior programs,” said Slava Nedelin, who is in charge of senior adult nutrition. Participants know that with 24-hour’s notice they can have a guaranteed seat at the table and can plan their day accordingly. Some attend early morning classes at the Center and stay for lunch and to socialize, while others remain after the meal to participate in an afternoon exercise or special interest program. They have a great time.
Senior Adult Director Diane Sadle explained that a registered dietitian works out the lunch menus, which are posted for the following week on Thursdays. The menu options were revised in October after she and Nedelin polled their regulars for favorite food items.
The Senior Adult Department also publishes a monthly bulletin that lists the menu items and all activities, enabling clients to pick and choose the days they come, taking into account their interests and food preferences. There is no set charge for meals, but donations of any amount are appreciated; and you don’t have to be Jewish to take advantage of the program.
Both women agree Jimmy Harris is a great cook. Joyce Craig, the very efficient nutrition manager, completes the team, taking care of the ordering and billing. Together, they ensure the food quality of the more than 50 meals they prepare each day is excellent.
For those who would have difficulty getting to the Center, handicap-accessible van pick-up is available with 24-hour notice. “It is one of the most important services we offer,” says Sadle. “Our service reaches seniors throughout the community including the Brownsboro Road/Westport Road corridor.” Home delivery is also available. A grant from Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services provides home delivered meals for Jewish elderly.
The nutrition program, which is subsidized by KIPDA (Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency), Louisville Metro Nutrition, Metro United Way and the Jewish Community of Louisville’s Annual Campaign, is enhanced by its connection to the total health services program offered at the Center, including daily exercise classes and lectures on nutrition, disease prevention, etc. Weekly blood pressure screenings are also offered, along with periodic screenings for blood sugar, vision and hearing.
In a recent survey done for Metro United Way, one woman called the JCC program for seniors “her life.” Client Evelyn Guernsey said, “I feel like I have come home whenever I come to a senior lunch or participate in any activity for us ‘old’ folks. I feel like I am with family.”
“The JCC has the best program in Jefferson County not only for senior citizens, but also for people with disabilities,” says Isabel Newsome. “The staff is well-trained, thoughtful and helpful. I am grateful that we have a place like the JCC in our community.”
If you would like more information about the lunch and senior adult programs at the Jewish Community Center, please contact Diane Sadle, 238-2749, or Slava Nedelin, 238-2743.