The Erie County Department of Senior Services announced the expansion of the “Go and Dine” program. Four meal vouchers have been made available to participants each month and can be used at locally owned and operated participating restaurants. Due to COVID-19, the department is expanding the program to eight meal vouchers per month. It is also looking for new restaurants to expand its range across Erie County.
Erie County Senior Services Commissioner David J. Shenk said, “During these challenging times, my staff and I have continued to think creatively to better serve our customers, Erie County seniors. The expansion of this program is just the latest.”
Erie County residents ages 60-plus are eligible, but must call the EC Senior Services – NY Connects at 716-858-8526. Once registered, eight meal vouchers will be mailed to each resident on a monthly basis to use as payment at participating restaurants.
Every month, all participants will be given an opportunity to contribute to the program. A donation of $3 per meal is suggested, but nobody will be denied service because of the inability to contribute. All proceeds are returned to the program to serve older adults in the community.
This pilot program is made available by a grant from The Administration for Community Living.
Participants can select from pre-determined meal options that are made to order. The department said meals follow the necessary safety precautions. The program is usually “dine-in” only, but, due to COVID-19, it has been modified to allow participants a takeout option.
Shenk added, “This is a great opportunity to support local businesses during a challenging economy. We can’t do this without the support of local business.”
Restaurants are required to follow ADA requirements and will provide a menu based on the USDA Older Americans Act nutritional requirement standards. Program meals will be specifically tailored to this program, but will include various options and combinations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner options will be made available. Senior Services will contract with locally owned and operated participating restaurants with an established cost per meal served.
The “Go and Dine” program is currently serving older adults through partnerships with the following restaurants: Peg’s Place, Hamburg; Cozy Corner, Springville; Billygan’s, City of Tonawanda; and in Buffalo: West Side Bazaar, Wa Wa’s Asian Snacks, Abyssinia Ethiopian Cuisine, M Asian Halal Food, Thang’s Family Japanese Ramen, 007 Chinese Food, and Kiosko Latino.
Locally owned and operated restaurant owners are encouraged to email the Erie County Department of Senior Services at [email protected]. Restaurants from all regions of Erie County are encouraged to apply.
Shenk said, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to continue to provide nutritional services to older adults in Erie County, and want to support local businesses. This expansion will help accomplish both objectives.”