Council on Aging hosts barbecue to go

Jul 10, 2020

Dozens of cars streamed through the Dartmouth Council on Aging parking lot to pick up burgers, watermelon slices, and some much needed time out of their homes at a socially distanced cookout on July 9.

Normally, the COA holds an indoor cookout each July — but this year it decided to hold the event drive-up style due to the pandemic.

“We just wanted to keep the tradition alive,” COA director Amy DiPietro said.

Most of the food was grilled with the help of the Dartmouth Police Department, which had a dozen officers volunteer.

“It’s been so nice to see the community support,” DiPietro said. “The DPD was more than happy to jump in and help.” 

Officers said they were just happy to be able to support such a vulnerable community during this time, along with enjoying some time in the sun.

“It was an awesome event and a great way to give back to the community,” said Dartmouth Police Detective Kyle Costa. “This was just something we wanted to do.”

School resource officer David Tavares agreed.

“It’s so important to be involved with our wonderful community,” he said. “They always support us, so why not support them?”

More than 130 bags of burgers and hot dogs were handed out during cookout, with many eager seniors arriving well before it started. 

According to DiPietro, one person arrived even before the police began to warm up the grills.

“She might have come just a bit early,” DiPietro laughed.

Many attendees said they enjoyed not having to think about the pandemic for once.

“It’s a good break from everything going on,” Dartmouth resident Jim Bean said. 

This is not the first time the Council has provided meals to those in need during the pandemic, as the center hosted its first grab and go event in May. Since then, the COA has started up weekly produce distributions at Quinn School.

DiPietro said that at a recent event, 350 boxes were distributed in just a single hour.

Workers from the COA and Dartmouth Community TV also delivered nearly 200 hot meals per day to seniors through a Meals on Wheels partnership with Coastline Elderly Services.

DiPietro said she hopes to do more collaborative grab and go events in the future, and possibly create an outdoor dining space at the center’s parking lot.

“Maybe we’ll do a grab and go with the town tax collector,” she said.