ROSSS Diners Program Gives Nutrition and Connection to Seniors and Adults with Disabilities

By Melissa MacIsaac, Rural Ottawa South Support Services

In the heart of rural communities, ROSSS offers a crucial lifeline for many seniors and adults with disabilities: the ROSSS Diners Program. This program not only serves up nutritious home-cooked meals but also fosters vital social connections and provides much-needed entertainment for those who might otherwise find themselves isolated.

As you know, ROSSS is committed to enhancing the lives of senior residents and adults with disabilities in rural Ottawa south. The Diners Program is another example of the innovative ways ROSSS is meeting the needs of some of our communities most vulnerable and supporting their overall well-being. Recently, the program has expanded its reach with the addition of two new diner locations, amplifying the impact to those in need.

One of these new additions is the Osgoode Luncheon, hosted at the Osgoode Legion. Every fourth Friday of the month, from 12 to 2 PM, this event offers warmth, laughter, and camaraderie. Another recent addition is the Metcalfe Breakfast, held on the third Friday of the month at the Lion’s Den.  These new venues join the roster of existing gatherings, such as the Manotick Breakfast at the Manotick Legion, occurring on the first Monday of every month, and the Richmond Diners, which takes place on the first Wednesday of the month.

But these events are much more than just a meal on the calendar. For some attendees, they represent the only opportunity to enjoy a hot, nutritious meal within a week. In the vast expanses of rural life, where access to services may be limited, the ROSSS Diners Program serves as a crucial resource for maintaining health and well-being.

Beyond the nutritional aspect, however, lies the true essence of these gatherings: the social connections they foster. In a world that is becoming increasingly disconnected, face-to-face interactions hold immeasurable value, especially for older adults and those with disabilities. For many attendees, these events serve as their primary social outlet, offering a sense of belonging and community that is invaluable for mental and emotional health.

Research consistently shows the profound impact of social connections on overall well-being. From reducing feelings of loneliness and depression to enhancing cognitive function and longevity, human connection is a powerful antidote to the ailments of modern life. The ROSSS Diners Program recognizes this importance and actively cultivates an environment where friendships can flourish and support networks can form.

As attendees gather around tables laden with hearty dishes, they not only nourish their bodies but also their souls. Conversations flow freely, laughter fills the air, and bonds are forged that transcend background, and circumstance. Meals are prepared and served by our incredible volunteers who also play a pivotal role in facilitating these interactions, ensuring that everyone feels welcome and included.

Moreover, the program goes beyond just providing meals and socialization. Entertainment and door prizes are often incorporated into the gatherings, adding an extra layer of enjoyment and stimulation. Whether it’s live music, games, or guest speakers, these experiences enrich the lives of attendees and create lasting memories.

The significance of programs like the ROSSS Diners Program extends far beyond the walls of the venues where they take place. They offer hope and compassion to those in our communities, for whom resources may be scarce and isolation may be very much a reality. ROSSS staff have said that these events remind them of the power of human connection to uplift, inspire, and transform lives.

We are grateful to be able to offer programs that provide the opportunity for individuals to  share a meal and connect with one another. In the simple act of breaking bread together, we find solace, joy, and the profound realization that we are not alone. And thanks to initiatives like these, no one in our rural communities need to face life’s challenges in isolation. If you are an older adult age 55+ or an adult with disabilities, and would like to learn more about our Diners programs, please contact Lyn Rorke at 613-692-4697 x 224 or by emailing her at

We hope to see you there!