COA Director Amy Saada told Reminder Publications the timeline for the renovation was initially thought to be three to four weeks, however due to frequent winter storms the Department of Public Works (DPW) could not reach the initial deadline.
“Our DPW work staff were the ones doing the majority of the work,” she added. “We had a very busy winter and so every time it snowed the DPW staff had to go out to shovel and plow and clear roofs.”
Saada said nearly the entire kitchen was replaced with modern equipment, from the appliances down to the wiring, flooring, and plumbing.
“It’s great to be completed,” she added. “Our meal program is one of our largest programs and to be back serving and offering socialization again is an important service here at the Adult Center.”
The COA serves more than 60 home-delivered meals and at least 45-in house meals per week.
“A lot of senior centers don’t have kitchens that they cook out of,” she explained. “They order from [Meals on Wheels], so the [meals] come boxed. We have home-cooked meals out of this kitchen.”
During the renovations, from Jan. 20 to March 28, Longmeadow’s meal program moved to East Longmeadow, Saada said.
“They were absolutely great,” she noted. “Our volunteers went to East Longmeadow every day. The meals got to everybody on time. Everybody worked well together and we just can’t thank them enough for doing it for months rather than weeks.”
East Longmeadow will be compensated for about $4 per meal, which is approximately $8,000 in total, Town Manager Stephen Crane said.
“We are really thrilled to have a commercial quality kitchen facility to continue what is one of our most important programs, the senior nutrition program,” he added. “I’d also like to say that I’m extremely grateful to [East Longmeadow Council on Aging Director] Carolyn Brennan and her team for helping us through this transition.”
The final opening date for the kitchen was not advertised in the COA’s newsletter “The Voice” because the permits for the kitchen were not cleared until March 27, Saada said.
“We welcome everyone,” she added. “Bring a friend; come try our meals.”
The COA kitchen is open Monday through Friday with lunch at 11:30 a.m. For more information about the COA’s meals program visit www.longmeadow.org/coa/meals-program.