Last year, the Winter Park Health Foundation provided a grant to the Winter Park Housing Authority to completely transform a community kitchen at the Plymouth Apartments. The kitchen, designed circa 1971, was obsolete and inaccessible for mobility-challenged residents of the 196-unit independent living apartment complex located on Gay Road in Winter Park.
Residents expressed a desire to renovate the kitchen in order to enhance accessibility, expand storage, provide greater socialization opportunities, and improve food access. They envisioned the new kitchen as a place where they could create their own community meals and share them with each other. At the time, the Plymouth had a food pantry on site to serve residents in need, but they did not have a congregate meal program.
Now, the new kitchen is being utilized much more frequently than before and in new ways. Through Table Sixty, a separate effort designed to eliminate senior food insecurity in Orange County, the Plymouth Apartments hosts a twice weekly meal program for residents. Thanks to Seniors First and the Winter Park Housing Authority, both Table Sixty partners, a hot noon meal is now available to residents for a voluntary donation.
The transformation of the space is amazing. A local occupational therapist donated her expertise to be sure the kitchen included age-friendly features such as a raised dishwasher, tilt out shelves, improved lighting and a microwave mounted at a height safe for older adults.
Winter Park Housing Authority Executive Director Patsy Rice shared, “We just came back from lunch at the Plymouth–the room looks gorgeous! We received nothing but compliments. Please know how appreciative we are to the Winter Park Health Foundation for partnering with us on this project that means so much to our residents.”