Senior Meals at Beulah Brinton Center

July 2, 2015

By Jill Rothenbueler Maher

How does beef stroganoff for lunch sound? Or how about baked fish with potato casserole, vegetable blend, roll, and dessert? Hearty lunches like these are available to residents over age 60 and to their spouse, of any age, at Beulah Brinton Community Center, 2555 S. Bay St.

These catered hot meals, provided through the Senior Meal Program, are served weekdays in Bay View (except holidays) at 11:30am for a suggested fee of $2.50. Payment is encouraged but not required. Between 18 and 30 seniors attend and some gather early to socialize or arrive early via a transportation service.

Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin is contracted to run the Beulah Brinton site and nine other sites under the auspices of the Milwaukee County Department on Aging. The program is funded from a variety of sources including participants’ contributions, the federal government through Title III-C of the Federal Older Americans Act, and some from the State of Wisconsin, and donations to the Milwaukee County Department on Aging. Volunteers—120 spread over 10 meal sites—help serve the meals.

Marie Polaski likes to get out and socialize at the Senior Meals luncheons at the Beulah Brinton Community Center. She was born in 1914 and says her favorite music era was the 1930s and 1940s, especially bands like Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and other Swing orchestras.  —Photo Katherine Keller

Marie Polaski likes to get out and socialize at the Senior Meals luncheons at the Beulah Brinton Community Center. She was born in 1914 and says her favorite music era was the 1930s and 1940s, especially bands like Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and other Swing orchestras. —Photo Katherine Keller

The oldest regular attendee is 101-year-old Marie Polaski, who lives near Immaculate Conception church and enjoys the social aspect. “I have to get out, I can’t stay in the apartment building. I’ve been around people my whole life, you know what I mean? I enjoy the people down here,” she said.

Polaski said she is able to use a transit van to get groceries and does some of her own cooking, though it’s getting harder due to eyesight difficulties. She has no children and no nearby relatives.

Nancy Torres is the site supervisor for the Senior Meal Program. Seated next to her are diners Robert Meizin (middle) and Bill Kroening. —Photo Katherine Keller

Nancy Torres is the site supervisor for the Senior Meal Program. Seated next to her are diners Robert Meizin (middle) and Bill Kroening. —Photo Katherine Keller

Bob Miezin has attended the meal program for about a year and a half, since his retirement from Wells Fargo as a mortgage banker. “I used to eat my main meal at night, but now that I’m not working, I don’t need all that food in the evening. It’s nice to have a hot meal in the middle of the day. And if you live alone, you’re not always eating alone,” he said.

Miezin describes himself as very active and is able to walk to stores and prepare food but said, “Who really wants to cook all the time and then eat only the food you cooked?”

From left: Volunteers Wally Pfaff, William Tank, Daniel Stasiewicz, and Mary Tatera. Site Supervisor Nancy Torres praised these volunteers and said the program would not be possible without their fine work.  —Photo Katherine Keller

From left: Volunteers Wally Pfaff, William Tank, Daniel Stasiewicz, and Mary Tatera. Site Supervisor Nancy Torres praised these volunteers and said the program would not be possible without their fine work.
—Photo Katherine Keller

Some attendees preview the menu and choose which days they will attend accordingly.

Some sites in the county offer specialty meals like kosher, Hispanic-style, or southeast Asian-style. Diabetic or sugar free desserts are available at all locations, and all locations are handicap accessible. Diners can bring their own containers for leftovers.

Menus are available in the Journal Sentinel food section on Wednesday or online at http://goo.gl/n88T22.

First-time diners are advised to call ahead to find out more and to learn about registering. The Beulah Brinton phone number is 414-750-7273. The phone number for the county-wide Senior Meals program is 414-289-6995.

Ed Rucinski, Sr. lives in St. Francis now but he lived in Bay View until he sold his house several years ago. He is a regular at the Beulah Brinton luncheons, sharing his lively spirit with other diners. —Photo Katherine Keller

Ed Rucinski, Sr. lives in St. Francis now but he lived in Bay View until he sold his house several years ago. He is a regular at the Beulah Brinton luncheons, sharing his lively spirit with other diners. —Photo Katherine Keller

Kara Grennier, director of community services for Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin, said that attendance at the Beulah Brinton center has dwindled and hopes that more people will participate. She encourages people to try out the program, even if they are capable of cooking and can afford groceries. “Anyone is welcome to dine. There are no waiting lists or eligibility factors, such as income, to participate in the program. It is open to anyone over the age of 60,” she said.

Eligible homebound seniors can get home-delivered meals through a similar program. To learn about eligibility for this service, call 414-289-6874.

The Senior Meal Program is also available at the Warnimont-Kelly Center in Cudahy, 6100 S. Lake Drive 414-483-3532 and the Wilson Park Senior Center, 2601 W. Howard Ave. 414-282-3284.

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