Partnership to Provide Meals to Low-Income Apartment Residents
Pima Council on Aging | Tucson, AZ
Thursday, June 18, 2020

Section: COVID-19 Resources

With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the country, Pima Council on Aging (PCOA) looked to new ways it could help Pima County residents get the nutrition they need while staying safe and healthy. With emergency federal funding from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act providing an opportunity for PCOA to increase its home-delivered meals from five to seven meals per week and switch to grab-n-go meals for participants in the congregate meals program, PCOA also began exploring the idea of partnering with low-income apartment complexes in the community to help older adults stay safe and nourished at home.
PCOA has so far partnered with eight local apartment complexes to provide meals to nearly 200 residents five days a week. With PCOA’s existing meals partner at maximum capacity with the additions to the home-delivered and congregate meals programs, PCOA looked to additional local kitchens that had the capacity to prepare nutritious meals for older adults. PCOA used the emergency federal funding to contract with the Tucson Jewish Community Center and Stay Naked Kitchen, which helped support both businesses during the pandemic. The new meals program allowed the Tucson Jewish Community Center, which had shut down completely, to bring employees back to cook and deliver meals to apartment residents.
PCOA’s meal provider partners deliver meals to each apartment complex, while the staff from the contracted apartment complexes deliver the meals directly to the door of their residents. PCOA works with the apartment complex management to survey residents to understand the need of the community and enroll new apartment complex community members in the program. The management then maintains the list of recipients and updates PCOA with how many people need meals each week. So far, the program has been extremely successful and PCOA has received a number of calls from participants expressing their gratitude for the meals. Like all new programs, there has been a learning curve, but PCOA is now working to expand this program to many other Section 202 and low-income housing apartment complexes in the Tucson Metro Area.