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photo credit: Courtesy of Northaven Senior Living/Wikimedia
The thought of dinner at the local senior center isn't likely to inspire most people - but most people aren’t Anna Grant.
 
"We call it the Bistro on Matheson," Grant said. "I am biased, but hey, it's the best meal in town."
 
Grant is Healdsburg’s senior services director. What began as a simple inquiry into why the city is paying the senior center’s caterer nearly $45,000 more dollars this year turned into a wider look at the program.
 
"Bistro is my baby," Grant said. "A server takes your order off of a menu just like a restaurant; makes it more of a personal experience. But you get to sit down at a table, your order gets taken. There's a lot of dignity in that as a senior citizen and just as a human, it's not go through the meal line and get your scoop of whatever."
 
Grant stressed the benefits of sharing a meal.
 
"For me, with senior citizens, the act of breaking bread around a table is one of the most natural things to do, and you could be any ability level and you could participate and you get to socialize, you get to sit down, you get to talk with your friends or meet a new person and interact," Grant said.
 
Taking a more holistic view, Grant noted how impactful the pandemic has been on seniors.
 
"When Covid happened and there was full blown lockdown, I watched seniors that would come in here for three days a week exercise, and when I'd see 'em a month later, they could barely get up and out of their chair alone," Grant said. "The isolation from Covid, severely fast tracked anyone's natural aging process."
 
And as for why the need for more funding, Grant said demand has spiked.
 
"We're going gangbusters, so we're looking at some creative ways to do some fundraising to continue," Grant said.
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