Curbside Lunch program passes 30,000 meals

November 17, 2021

Perinton’s Curbside Lunch program reached a major milestone Wednesday when Cindy Day purchased lunch No. 30,000.

Cindy won a week of free Curbside Lunches.

The 55+ program and chef Preston Bennett started the Curbside Lunch program in June of 2020 when the 55+ Community Room closed because of the pandemic. The Town quickly realized that seniors would need a safe way to continue to get their balanced, affordable lunches.

The Curbside program allowed seniors to order on the phone or online, pull into the loop in front of the Perinton Community Center and get their lunches without leaving their car.

Before the pandemic, seniors could come in and have lunch in the PCC, with about two dozen lunches being served a day. Since June 2020, the curbside program has averaged more than 109 lunches a day, including more than 125 a day in the past two months.

“This program took off from the start and it has been better than I ever thought it could be,” said Town Supervisor Ciaran Hanna. “The seniors were really in danger when the pandemic started and we wanted to make sure their needs were met. The community has embraced the program and it has been very special to watch.”

Hanna went on to praise 55+ Director Kelly Attridge and Bennett, who faithfully serve seniors 3 or 4 days a week. Maggie Monsen has also taken the bulk of reservations and volunteers have helped cook and serve for the program. Denise Conaway is Bennett’s right-hand person in the kitchen and Eileen Belaskas is present most days to help get food to cars whether it is 90 degrees, raining or snowing.

“I’m proud of the crew we have,” Attridge said. “We could not do it without the dedicated volunteers. It is not easy to coordinate this every day and we pull it off. There are many days that I’m just impressed that we get it done.”

Bennett isn’t just serving grilled cheese sandwiches and chips every day. This week alone he served pork chops, Salisbury steak, chicken pot pie and spaghetti and meatballs. That doesn’t include the weekly special salads and soups.

“I knew this program could get to this level,” Bennett said. “I didn’t think it would take a pandemic to make us realize our potential, but everyone has stepped up and really produced great food. We just keep getting better. I am just proud of everyone involved.”