The Baldwin Academy of Dance and Voice has become a downtown intergenerational lunchtime hot spot. The academy’s restaurant, the Dance Cafe, stepped up in April to fill the void when the Baker University cafeteria decided to no longer be a site for the Choosing Healthy Appetizing Meal Plan Solutions for Seniors program.
The Dance Cafe, 711 High St., offers the meals from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, said Courtney Williams, owner of the Baldwin Academy of Dance and Voice.
The Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging decided in 2015 to close congregate meal sites, such as the one offered for years at the Baldwin City Senior Center in the basement of Baldwin Healthcare and Rehabilitation, in favor of the CHAMPSS program. The program kicked off in January 2016 at the Baker cafeteria, but that site always presented parking issues for seniors and wasn’t open during the summer or other periods when the college was closed.
Neither of those issues is a problem at the Dance Cafe, which provides what the Jayhawk AAA is looking for in a CHAMPSS site, said Beth Kinnan, nutrition coordinator for Jayhawk AAA.
“When we’re looking for a CHAMPSS site, we’re looking for a place the general public goes and where those 60 years of age or older can go and not be segregated or isolated in any way,” she said. “We’re looking for a public restaurant, cafe or grocery store that has hot food.”
Williams said the Dance Cafe serves sandwiches and salads for CHAMPSS meals.
“We have some CHAMPSS customers every day,” she said. “There’s some days we get a whole crowd.”
CHAMPSS is not meant to be a home-delivered meal program because it emphasizes the social aspects of seniors getting out into their communities, Kinnan said. Home-delivered meals in Baldwin City are available through the Senior Resource Center for Douglas County. However, the Dance Cafe will deliver its CHAMPSS meals with the other lunchtime meals it deliveries daily, Williams said.
The Jayhawk AAA…