Chao Fong

Older Californians Nutrition Program

Octogenarian Chao Fong lives alone and far from a senior center — but near one of three restaurants participating in San Francisco’s Choosing Healthy Appetizing Meal Plan Solutions for Seniors (CHAMPSS) program. The innovative congregate meal program gives older people more flexibility in what and when they want to eat, at a fraction of the real cost.

"I reconnect with several former classmates," Chao says, "and return home full of good food and fond memories!"

CHAMPSS diners are asked to contribute at least $5 for a dietician-approved entrée, drink, and treat. A spouse or partner can eat, too, and many older people gather in groups for healthy interaction.

Some say the money they save goes toward other needs, and they also save time by not having to prepare meals.

Self-Help for the Elderly, a center for older adults, operates the program for the San Francisco Department of Disability and Aging Services, which approves participating restaurants.

Chao’s experience with CHAMPSS reflects the positive influence of 50 years of dedicated services, highlighting California’s ongoing commitment to enriching the lives of older adults.

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