Community Action Commission Provides Free Meals, Home Repairs for Seniors

Hot Meals Five Days a Week for 14,000 People in Santa Barbara County

Continuing education woodworking class

Paul Wellman

Continuing education woodworking class

Serving our community for more than 50 years, the Community Action Commission (CAC) creates opportunities for families and individuals to achieve stability through its 22 health and human service programs. Its Healthy Senior Lunch program, which offers hot meals at a number of congregate sites in the county as well as through its home delivery program, served almost 14,000 seniors last year with about 145,000 meals.

“The idea behind the congregate sites is for seniors to get a healthy meal but also for the socialization,” said Gary Lynd, CAC nutrition services director. “At many of the facilities there are other things going on, too, like bingo, dancing, and exercise classes.” The meals are donation-based and available to anyone over the age of 60, with no income qualifications necessary. And anyone who has some kind of mobility issue can qualify for CAC’s home-delivery meals.

“The home delivery’s goal is to try to keep people healthy and in their home as long as possible,” said Lynd. “Sometimes the only people they see that day are our drivers.” The drivers are trained to be able to take a look in people’s home and assess if there is any elderly abuse going on and to make sure they are having their needs met.

Each lunch provides one-third of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines for daily nutrition, and the menu changes monthly to ensure that they are offering a variety of different food groups. For information on CAC’s Healthy Senior Lunch program, call (805) 683-4458 or visit cacsb.org.

Senior Home Repair Program

This year, thanks to a donation from AAA, CAC launched a new senior home-repair Energy Service program, a service that provides minor electrical and carpentry work for people over the age of 60 on a suggested donation basis.

The repairs are “focused on the health and safety of the senior,” said CAC’s Kemba Lawrence. Some of the repairs include things like installing grab bars, putting in handheld showerheads, and fixing minor plumbing and electrical issues. “Because [seniors] are often on a fixed income, it is hard for them to take care of these issues,” explained Lawrence. “A lot of the people we serve are widowed, so maybe the spouse who used to take care of these kinds of things isn’t around anymore.”

For more information on CAC’s Energy Services, call (805) 617-2897 or email energyinfo@cacsb.com.