Program Overview

The Nutrition Program for Older Americans is administered by the Administration for Community Living (ACL). ACL provides grants to states, including California, to help support nutrition programs and services for older adults throughout the country. The Older Californians Nutrition Program includes the Congregate Meals Program and the Home-Delivered Meals Program, both providing nutritious meals, nutrition screening, assessment, education, and, in some areas, nutrition counselling.

Congregate Meals Program

Group of older adults holding up a glass in celebration

The Congregate Meals Program serves nutritious meals to older adults in a group setting. Since adequate nutrition is critical to health, functioning, and the quality of life, the Congregate Meals Program is an important component of community-based services for older adults.

Program Goals:
  • Reduce hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition
  • Offer opportunities to socialize, form new friendships, and create informal support networks
  • Serve older adults with the greatest economic or social need, with particular attention to low-income, minority older individuals, and older individuals living in rural areas
Eligibility:
  • Adults 60 or older, or
  • The spouse of an older adult participating in the program, regardless of age, or
  • A person with a disability who lives at a site where the Congregate Meals Program is provided, or lives with and accompanies an older adult who participates in the program
Program Features:
  • Provides nutritious meals that meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and provide a minimum of one-third of the Dietary Reference Intakes in each meal
  • Provides nutrition education and nutrition risk screening and, in some areas, nutrition counseling
  • Encourages the recruitment of volunteers and gives all participants the opportunity to contribute to the cost of the meal

Home-Delivered Meals Program

Young male volunteer in mask gives an elderly woman boxes with food near her house

The Home-Delivered Meals Program delivers nutritious meals to older adults in their home. The Program also reduces social isolation and provides links to other supportive services to help participants to remain independent and in their own home.

Program Goals:
  • Provide at least 5 meals each week to reduce hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition
  • Provide wellness checks and reduce social isolation through contact with staff or volunteers who deliver the meals
  • Serve older adults with the greatest economic or social need, with particular attention to low-income, minority older individuals, and older individuals living in rural areas
Eligibility:
  • Adults 60 or older who are frail or homebound due to illness or disability, or who are otherwise isolated, or
  • The spouse of an older adult participating in the program, regardless of age, or
  • A person with a disability who lives with an older adult participating in the program
Program Features:
  • Provides nutritious meals that meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and provide a minimum of one-third of the Dietary Reference Intakes in each meal
  • Provides nutrition education and nutrition risk screening and, in some areas, nutrition counseling
  • Encourages the recruitment of volunteers and gives all participants the opportunity to contribute to the cost of the meal