Congregate Dining at Saltmarsh Senior Center, 81 Washington Street, Nantucket, resumed on Tuesday November 1 after 2 year, 6 month, and 17 day closure.
Seniors joined staff from Elder Services and special guests to enjoy a tasty hot lunch prepared by Kitty Murtagh’s, which caters both the congregate lunch and Nantucket Meals on Wheels programs. The party-themed menu featured Salmon with Mango Pineapple Salsa accompanied by vegetable rice pilaf and asparagus, and of course birthday cake commemorating Elder Services 50 year anniversary!
But while the setting was celebratory and the food wonderful, both were overshadowed by the emotional reunions as returning diners greeted each other after a long separation. Diners were especially enthusiastic to reconnect with Mark Budaj, who manages the meal program. They showered him with praise for his attention to detail (see the cake below) and welcoming attitude. For Budaj, the feelings are mutual. “Interacting with the diners,” he says is the best part of the job.
Budaj also is proud of Elder Services’ eleven year partnership with Kitty’s, noting that there are real benefits to working with a restaurant rather than with an institutional kitchen, including opportunities to offer more diverse menus, using more fresh ingredients.
Lunch will continue to be served daily, Monday through Friday, at 12:00 noon. The menu will be the same as that for Elder Services’ Nantucket Meals on Wheels program. Reservations are required 48 hours in advance and can be made by calling 508-228-4647. A voluntary donation of $4 is suggested.