The Ethos Nutrition program started in 1973 and is one of more than 5,000 local Senior Nutrition Programs in the United States. Through its home delivered meals (Meals on Wheels) and congregate meals (Community Cafés)  programs, Ethos provides well over 1,200 meals to seniors who need them each day. The organization also offers nutrition check-ups and counseling from a licensed dietician.

Today there are 16 community cafes throughout southwest Boston (and 1 in Back Bay). Community cafes are open to any person 60 or over. If a spouse is under 60, they are welcome as are younger residents of a building that houses a community café. An anonymous, confidential donation of $2.00 per meal is requested. The community cafes sponsor events ranging from summer barbecues to exercise programs to political events.

Meals-on-wheels are a major part of the Nutrition Program. People 60 or over in southwest Boston, Allston and Brighton who are unable to easily leave the house and cannot prepare a nutritious meal, are eligible for the program. Ethos requests a donation of $2.00 per meal and sends a reminder each month.

The nutrition program also includes “Nutrition Check-ups” from a registered dietitian, with the option of a full assessment and nutrition plan. Thanks to a grant from the City of Boston, Commission on Affairs of the Elderly, this service is available for a donation, not a fee.


Senior Hunger Facts:

  • Nearly 1 in 6 seniors is threatened by hunger.
  • 8.8 million seniors faced the threat of hunger in 2011.
  • From 2001 to 2011, the number of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger increased by 88%.
  • From the onset of the Great Recession in 2007 to 2011 the number of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger has increased by 42%.

Source: Gunderson, Craig and Ziliak, James. “The State of Senior Hunger in America 2011: An Annual Report.” National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, September, 2013. The full report is available  here .