50th Anniversary Meals on Wheels Fundraiser (2024)

A wicked good breakfast for a wicked good cause!

Nutrition Director Paula Curley and Gloucester House owner Lennie Linquata at the 2023 Meals on Wheels Breakfast Fundraiser.

In 1974, World War II veteran and Gloucester House owner Michael Linquata offered the Gloucester House Restaurant to SeniorCare to use for a fundraiser benefitting the Meals on Wheels home-delivered meals program. After Mike’s retirement from the restaurant, Lennie & Dotty Linquata carried on this tradition, helping SeniorCare raise tens of thousands of dollars to ensure older people who have difficulty preparing their own food, or are unable to get out, receive a nutritious meal at their home Monday through Friday throughout the year.

For five decades, the Gloucester House in downtown Gloucester has welcomed diners for a special Breakfast Buffet in the name of Meals on Wheels.  This breakfast is a community tradition, supported by dozens of sponsor organizations, students from Gloucester High School ROTC program, and individual community members. This year, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the breakfast, the need to raise funds for this important program is more urgent than ever before.

SeniorCare currently delivers Meals on Wheels to more than 600 older adults each day.  In 2025, SeniorCare expects to provide 200,000 meals in the homes of and at dining sites for older residents in Beverly, Essex, Gloucester, Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Rockport, Topsfield, and Wenham. The anticipated expense to provide these meals is two-million dollars. Funding for the program is projected to fall short by $140,000. Grant writing and fundraising events such as the breakfast will be needed to successfully deliver these meals.

According to the Greater Boston Food Bank, 1-in-3 Massachusetts adults face food insecurity and the number of people accessing its partner food pantry network doubled during the pandemic. In the 2022 report “The State of Senior Hunger in 2020,” published by Feeding America, Massachusetts reports that 5.3% of seniors in the state were experiencing food insecurity.

Researchers who study senior hunger say the causes are complex and compounded. Many older residents no longer drive due to safety concerns or they can no longer afford the expense of owning a vehicle. Rides on public transportation may be difficult due to illness, disability, and dementia. These illnesses alone can deprive a person of the ability to feed themselves. Food insecurity can then cause worsening of health conditions—it’s a vicious circle. The bottom line is that adequate nutrition is a critical aspect of healthy aging.

Meals on Wheels is not just a nutrition program.  In addition to lunch, the Meals on Wheels driver brings companionship and a watchful eye on the health and safety of our seniors. Some lunch recipients tell us that their driver is the only person they see on most days.

The 2024 Meals on Wheels Fundraiser Breakfast will be held on Friday, May 17, 2024, from 7:00 am to 9:30 am at the Gloucester House.  Tickets are $20 per person and may be purchased online or will be available for purchase at the door.  As mentioned earlier, the Gloucester House Restaurant has hosted this fundraiser breakfast buffet to benefit Meals on Wheels since 1974.  One hundred percent of the proceeds from these amazing community breakfasts has been used to support Meals on Wheels. The Linquata family’s generosity and kindness are not lost on us. We are grateful for this long-standing tradition and we give much thanks to the Linquata family and the Gloucester House team.  

For more information on SeniorCare’s nutrition programs—including how to volunteer to help or how to get assistance for an older friend in your life—contact SeniorCare at 978-281-1750.