MySeniorCenter Fun Facts

Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

In 1987, Lou Gorman was the General Manager of the Boston Red Sox. He never brought a championship to town, but he was well-liked, generous, and polite with reporters. In spring training following a World Series heartbreak just a few months earlier, he was asked what would happen if the team didn't sign their superstar, Roger Clemens. He paused and answered, "The sun will rise, the sun will set, and I'll have lunch." He got some chuckles from the reporters gathered on the grass that day, but the real beauty of his quote is also the real beauty of lunch. Lunch doesn't just provide good nutrition; it provides the important social component of sitting down for a meal with friends. Healthy food and healthy soul.

In this issue we'll look at the number of meals served, who is eating those meals, and some different approaches to the traditional congregate lunch. In each section, we'll also highlight the impact of COVID.

Welcome to...Fun Facts - the Lunch Break edition


I Wish Lunch Could Last Forever

In 2019, the last full pre-COVID year, over 7M congregate lunches were served across the Network. In 2020 and 2021, those numbers dropped and were a mix of congregate and COVID-necessitated curbside meals. So far in 2022, the traditional congregate lunch has come back and is on track to surpass 7M meals again.

Lunch Will Keep Us Together

The thing that really stands out about the this next graph is the COVID-related spike in meals per person in 2020. These are people that rely on you and your team. And you came through with congregate and curbside options throughout 2020 and 2021. As more meals have shifted to in-person in 2022, we're projecting that the number of meals per person could reach almost 35 this calendar year. Good nutrition and a healthy soul.

Cake By The Ocean

Let's call people who come to your Center and have lunch, Lunchers. Those who attend but don't have lunch will be Non-Lunchers. We were curious if there would be any age differences between these groups. For our comparison, we only analyzed Centers that have a lunch offering and further defined a Non-Luncher as someone who never attended lunch in the year listed.

It turns out that while there are age differences, the data from 2022 suggests that the age gap is getting smaller. This again appears to fit that theme that COVID has drawn people back to the lunch table.

Biscuits 'n' Gravy

There are behavioral differences between the groups as well. Lunchers show up at the Center, on average, 90 minutes after the Non-Lunchers. They also tend to participate in more activities (2.4 vs 1.8).

The Sun Will Rise, The Sun Will Set

COVID forced the congregate model to change, at least temporarily, to a curbside pick-up model. Other changes have been in the works for years. Some organizations in rural areas are reaching folks through restaurant-based lunch programs. People still want to gather for lunch and there's no reason the Center can't help them do that, even if lunch isn't IN the Center. This is also an option if the Center doesn't have a commercial kitchen or ServSafe staff. The idea is that people purchase tickets or coupons at the Center and then use them at restaurants. It's a great way to extend your reach and encourage socialization.

...And I'll Have Lunch

In case you're curious, Lou did sign Roger Clemens to a contract extension and he went on to win another Cy Young Award later that year. Another victory for lunch!