Featured: Mid-County Senior Center. A customer of mine recently decided to celebrate her 84th birthday dinner with a friend at the Mid-County Senior Center (829 Bay Ave., Capitola). Every Tuesday Night Live 4:30-7:30 p.m. you’ll find a delicious dinner and live music for only $10 donation. My customer assured me the food was great and so was the band. Stay after dinner to play Mexican Train dominoes. This program has been going on for nine years. Special thanks to the evening’s Activity Director Tony Alonzo. Thanks, Tony!
Downtown Santa Cruz’s Louden Nelson Senior Center (301 Center St.) offers nutritious lunches every weekday. $2.50 suggested donation (no one turned away for lack of funds). Advance reservations required. Call one day ahead 831-427-0901 to reserve.
Serving Santa Cruz County, Grey Bears (2710 Chanticleer Ave. Santa Cruz) is one of the biggest resource centers in the area for seniors. You can receive a weekly goody bag of groceries if you are 55+ at specified locations or delivered to your home. Go to greybears.org to sign up and learn more or call 831-479-1055. Also be sure to check out Grey Bears new, larger, thrift store, computer and electronics store, recycle center, and bookstore for great deals. Volunteers get free lunches daily. ????Special note for my solar friends. Grey Bears just installed a 18KW solar system to power 93% of their electrical needs. Go Grey Bears! ????
Meals on Wheels of Santa Cruz county offers meals delivered to your door. Call them at 831-464-3180.
Watsonville Senior Center (144 E. Fifth St.) has a lunch program. Please stop by the Center for more information.
Scotts Valley Senior Center (370 Kings Village Rd.) offers lunch on Wednesday. Call 831-438-8666 or drop by the Center for more information.
Some of the local supermarkets also offer regular senior discounts. Always call first or ask when you get to the store since days and discounts can change!
Staff of Life (1266 Soquel Ave.) wins the prize since it offers 5% discount everyday to seniors 65+. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday it’s 10% off. I love this local, independently owned store’s good vibration and friendly staff.
New Leaf market offers 10% every Wednesday for shoppers 65+.
Trader Joe’s does not have any senior discounts since they say their items are already at reduced prices. They do offer a wide variety of inexpensive frozen and or boxes easy-preparation meals. My favorites are Trader Joe’s gluten-free pasta and cheeses (you can see I’m not on a diet!) or their fresh green beans which you can microwave right in the bag in 2-3 minutes!
I swear I was the first customer to walk in to Grocery Outlet when they opened their store in Santa Cruz at 120 Morrissey Blvd. (across the street from Safeway) a couple of years ago. Since then, Grocery Outlet’s amazing deals have begun to draw a crowd. Still, I love this mid-size store. I don’t always find everything I’m looking for, but I always find great deals on things like organic produce, yogurt, milk, ice cream (look out; they practically give it away!), lots of gluten-free items, and other healthy snacks. Grocery Outlet in Watsonville (1000 Main St.) also has amazing deals and is centrally located with easy parking.
Whole Foods in Capitola and Santa Cruz do not offer any senior discounts, but their prices have seemed to come down since Amazon recently purchased the health store chain. I like their salad bar if I don’t have time to prepare food at home. Check their weekly specials and Whole Deal Coupon booklet.
I called the local Safeway stores in Santa Cruz, Soquel, Capitola, and Aptos. While they don’t offer any senior discounts, they suggested folks use the Safeway “Club Card” to get discounts and check their weekly ad for sale items. Bonus Round: if you use the Club Card to buy groceries, you can get a discount at Safeway gas stations.
If you know of a local senior discount related to food that I missed on this list, email me at: email@example.com. Bon Appetit!