The Board of Directors of CommUnify and VTC Enterprises are partnering to provide nutritious meals to at-risk seniors of Northern Santa Barbara County in a program called Healthy at Home. Healthy at Home is one of the ways the nonprofit CommUnify finds innovative and sustainable solutions for Santa Barbara County residents to improve and maintain their health, resilience, and financial security.
As part of CommUnify’s Senior Nutrition Program, clients receive hot, nutritious, high-quality meals safely delivered to their doorstep on weekdays, along with additional frozen meals on Friday to provide sustenance over the weekend. The service allows seniors to live independently in their own home, feeling connected to their community.
For 12,000 members of the community, CommUnify represents the difference in living between uncertainty and stability. The need for Healthy at Home has more than doubled since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March.
CommUnify believes no senior should ever have to make the choice between buying food, paying rent, keeping the lights on, or buying necessary prescription drugs.
The Senior Nutrition Program helps clients maintain their physical health and emotional well-being; and often their meal delivery driver might be their only visitor of the day. To address this surging need, a better solution for the growing demand in Northern Santa Barbara County was identified in a collaboration between CommUnify and VTC Enterprises.
“We are pleased to be working with the committed staff at VTC Enterprises to fulfill our mission to provide delicious and nutritious meals to the most vulnerable in our community – our seniors,” said Patricia Keelean, CommUnify CEO. “There is such synchronicity between our organizations and their missions of serving the most underserved in our community.
“I admire the incredible work VTC has done and look forward to joining forces to expand the positive impact both our organizations can have on the seniors we serve.”
VTC Enterprises will serve as the North County food vendor for Healthy at Home, and will be responsible for producing 250 meals per day, providing improved food security to some 200 residents. Using menus created by CommUnify’s on-staff registered dietician, the meals are designed to be nutritionally-balanced to suit the senior population.
VTC is also a place for individuals with disabilities to thrive, and the new partnership provides another opportunity for them to obtain employment and experience. VTC’s small businesses offer individuals work in several different industries, including:
The ‘A’ Street Café restaurant, 2445 A St., Santa Maria, which serves breakfast and lunch 6:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; VTC Grounds Maintenance for residential or business properties; and Innovative Printing Solutions, a copy and mailing shop and home of VTC Promotional Button production.
These jobs are an essential component to acquiring the skills and knowledge that lead to increased independence. Work and social interaction build confidence and open avenues for people with disabilities to participate and contribute to their community in positive and meaningful ways.
“We are thrilled to partner with CommUnify to ensure seniors in Santa Barbara County receive hot nutritious meals,” said Jason Telander, CEO, VTC Enterprises. “The partnership provides additional employment and training opportunities for our staff in The ‘A’ Street Café, and allows us to be part of the broader good work going on in our community.”
CommUnify is need of volunteers to deliver meals to vulnerable seniors in the community; contact Joni Kelly, volunteer coordinator, 805-964-8857 ext. 1109 or email at jkelly@CommUnifySB.org for information.