Most were mobile, a few used walkers and one was wheel-chair bound, but they all wanted to help. Like excited children on Christmas morning, the group of older adults set-up tables and chairs, spread tablecloths, and positioned napkins, glasses, water pitchers and silverware on each table at the Denver Inner City Parish on Sept. 17. Then, they took their places around the tables, sitting with friends, and looked around and talked about their “new” place. Once we hung the newly-designed posters, Millie looked over and saw her beautiful smile reflecting back at her. She could not stop looking at it throughout the entire morning. When friends and staff greeted her, she joyfully pointed to her poster hanging on the wall next to her table. Rosana and Margaret wanted a picture together next to the poster, and we happily obliged them.
Allyson was grateful for the new cart that didn’t wobble and the plastic containers to store the new tablecloths. Adrian was delighted with the new light switches and sockets that he would get to install as they would all match the new faceplates. Round tables instead of rectangular tables made it easier for friends to look at and listen to each other. Everyone thought the community room looked larger without the old orange divider curtains hanging in the middle of the room, and the paint brought a calm, refreshed feel to the atmosphere.
Many little changes and added details of The Nourish Project refresh made a big impact for the staff and participants at Denver Inner City Parish. The purpose of The Nourish Project is to increase participation and satisfaction at older adult community meal sites. For this site, a “Kitchen Cabinet” comprised of older adult participants, made the decisions on new menu items, décor and round tables.
The project funder, CraftWorks Foundation, brought in-kind donations and volunteers to help with the project. Hunger Free Colorado staff worked with the older adults for the taste test and décor choice meetings to ensure the participants’ desires were met, and also conducted outreach within the community about the free meal program. A chef from the Brown Palace developed culturally appropriate meals as part of a taste test, during which the Kitchen Cabinet chose four meals as favorites. Volunteers of America Colorado Branch, who provides food to the site, will gradually add these four meals to their menu rotation. A representative from Colorado’s State Unit on Aging also participated in the taste test and décor meetings. Super Painting, LLC employees spent their weekend painting the community room.
The Nourish Project serves as a testament to the importance and value of serving our older adults. It was wonderful to see so many agencies and people involved in refreshing this one meal site. Read more about The Nourish Project and first transformation.
What a pleasure it has been to support and serve a deserving, humble and loving group of older adults who can be found socializing and enjoying a free meal at noon Wednesdays through Saturdays at Denver Inner City Parish.
Watch the photo slideshow to see the transformation:
Created with flickr slideshow.