The Recorder – Senior Center, Food Pantry collaboration provides monthly meals for Northfield seniors

Published: 3/12/2021 6:29:14 PM

NORTHFIELD — A collaboration between the Northfield Food Pantry and Council on Aging has created access for “Back Door” to-go lunches for seniors on a monthly basis.

The meals are cooked at the Senior Center and distributed from the kitchen’s back door on a predetermined Friday each month. The date of each meal is posted in the Senior Center newsletter, which can be found on the town website at The meals are available to any Northfield senior who is at least 65 years old and registers in advance.

Senior Center Director Rebecca Sommer-Petersen said the Northfield Food Pantry provides some of its extra food and the containers for the food, and a suggested donation of $3 to $5 helps cover the cost of the meals.

“We have been averaging about 40 to 60 total meals, and each meal also comes with an inspirational quote or saying, designed by one of our COA board members,” Sommer-Petersen said.

Husband and wife Howard and Jinx Hastings, two of the newest members of the Council on Aging board, have been the ones folding origami decorations with the inspirational quotes, fun facts or sayings written on them. In January, they included a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. because the meal distribution fell near Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

This month’s lunch, on March 12, was inspired by St. Patrick’s Day — a corned beef dinner with carrots, potatoes and onions. The meal also came with soda bread and a “Grasshopper” brownie, a chocolate brownie with mint icing. A vegetarian option was also available.

Senior Center Program Manager Linda Keech has been spearheading the food service, with the help of volunteer Pam Eldridge. Keech has experience in food service, and Sommer-Petersen said she took a ServSafe kitchen training course to continue the meal effort. Meals have been cooked based on Keech’s own recipes, as well as those submitted by town seniors.

Sommer-Petersen said the Senior Center has been hosting the monthly meals since the pandemic began, and after congregate meals were put on hold. She said the center wanted to replace the meals service for those who had been relying on it.

“Now it’s become kind of popular, this once-a-month special meal,” she said.

Reservations must be made by Monday the week of the meal distribution. Reservations can be made by calling the Senior Center at 413-498-2901, ext. 114 or emailing

Zack DeLuca can be reached at or 413-930-4579.

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