Senior café offering free meals for older adults opens in Manchester

The Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development Senior Nutrition Program has opened a new senior café location in Manchester, offering free meals for seniors every Tuesday and Thursday. The café at Manchester United Methodist Church, 501 Ann Arbor St. in Manchester, served 18 meals on its first day. 

“Manchester is rural and without a lot of services for seniors,” says Washtenaw County Human Services Program Specialist Marti Popyk. “We want to bring people together to have a meal – people who are low income and anyone experiencing isolation.”

Participants at Manchester's new senior café.
The Senior Nutrition Program has been working to expand the senior café program into Manchester for nearly a decade, since the area is underserved and has many seniors in need of nutritional support. People aged 60 or older can make a small donation per meal, but it is not required. While the café's focus is on people older than 60, those under 60 can also get a meal for $5.50, with funds reinvested into the site. Manchester United Methodist Church has donated its space, kitchen, supplies, and volunteers to run the café.

“Anyone who wants to support the program is welcome to have a meal at a senior café. We want to bring people together to address isolation and improve nutrition,” Popyk says.

Organizers try to pair meals with activities that help seniors socialize and foster companionship, so many senior café meals happen in places that host other events, according to Popyk. Manchester United Methodist Church hosts a yoga class before its new senior café, for example.

The new Manchester location is one of 10 senior café meal sites currently in operation in the county. See the full list of locations at Program leaders are also currently working on securing funds to add a senior café to the West Willow neighborhood in Ypsilanti Township. 
Jenny Rose Ryan (she/they) is a writer, editor, and communications consultant who has more than 20 years of experience sharing complicated and compelling stories. She is based in Ypsilanti.

Photo courtesy of Washtenaw County.
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