ADAMH Mini-Grant Program Supports Carrie’s Cafe

LifeCare Alliance is excited to announce a $1,500 mini-grant from the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County. This grant supports “Live Well with Carrie’s,” an initiative that provides Carrie’s Cafe, our signature dining center, with special events and enriching programming.

Special events are a key component of LifeCare Alliance’s congregate dining center program, which serves older adults and individuals living with a medical challenge and/or disability at 43 locations across central Ohio. Meal sites address clients’ nutritional, health-related, mental, and psychological needs holistically. They provide a nutritious meal, socialization, enriching programming, health services, and educational opportunities under one roof. Culturally diverse offerings are available at 11 Asian and Somali restaurants.

LifeCare Alliance is the largest provider of senior meals through community dining centers in both central Ohio and the state, according to the Ohio Department of Aging. Dining centers promote successful aging among central Ohioans, which is defined as the avoidance of disease and disability, maintenance of high cognitive and physical functioning, and engagement with life. In 2018, the congregate dining program served 140,436 meals to 4,496 clients. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of senior dining center clients are age 65 or older, 90% have an annual income of less than $20,000, 64% are female, and 55% are minority.

With $1,500 in funding from ADAMH, LifeCare Alliance has already started expanding programming at Carrie’s Café, at 670 Harmon Ave., which is also open to the public. At this congregate dining center, seniors age 60 and above are asked to contribute a donation of $1.50 per meal, but no one is turned away for an inability to pay. Those who come to Carrie’s love to listen to live music. In addition to the socialization this type of dining experience provides, it allows seniors to dance and reminisce about the past in a safe environment while eating a nutritious meal. All of these socialization opportunities promote community engagement, relationship building, and enjoyment of life among individuals who may otherwise be socially isolated.

The first event funded by the ADAMH grant involved live music in the form of a Creative Strings Workshop and Festival on July 2. The musicians came from all over the world and played an hour of strings music for the seniors in attendance. As you can tell from the photos, they loved it! The event also featured a resource table with information provided by ADAMH to help educate our seniors about mental health and substance abuse and encourage them to visit the Wellness Center staffed by nurses and registered dietitians that is located right beside Carrie’s Cafe.

The funding also supported a Birthday Bash held this past Wednesday, July 17, in honor of Carrie Nelson Black, LifeCare Alliance’s founder. The live music was provided by guitarists Don and Rick and allowed seniors to dance and celebrate this special occasion. More than 100 clients attended.

Clients can look forward to several events that will occur throughout the rest of the year, thanks in large part to funding from ADAMH that helps hire musicians and provide transportation to and from Carrie’s.

  • All are welcome to join “Squeezy Pete” on the stage or watch from the audience for the Open Mic Music Jams coming to Carrie’s on Aug. 1, Aug. 22, Sept. 5, Sept. 26, and Oct. 3.
  • The Fall Style Show takes place on October 16.
  • Back by popular demand, Carrie’s Cafe Sunday Brunch will occur on October 27.
  • A Halloween Monster Mash with live music from the 3C Highway Band will take place on October 31.

With thanks to ADAMH, the Agency continues to meet its mission that motivated our founder when she began LifeCare Alliance in 1898: taking care of those nobody else pays any attention to. These events and programs provide socialization and engagement to individuals who may not otherwise receive it, in turn promoting clients’ independence, self-esteem, and mental health. We could not do what we do without the support of funders like ADAMH.