A public agency and a senior living community have forged a partnership that’s bringing healthy meals to Camarillo seniors.

Walk less than a quarter-mile down the road from AlmaVia of Camarillo, a senior living community, and you’ll soon come across another organization that’s just as dedicated to serving the community’s seniors: the Camarillo Health Care District. This public agency provides health programs and services for the community. The two organizations share the same commitment to quality, accessible wellness programs.

But for years, they were little more than neighbors. The Sales and Marketing team at AlmaVia of Camarillo recognized the potential benefits of a collaboration, and about a year ago, they reached out to CHCD. The resulting partnership has proven valuable for individuals on both sides.

“We believe that people trust relationships,” says Lisa Wright, Director of Sales and Marketing. “Our ongoing connection with CHCD has been instrumental in fostering a feeling of good will and the desire on both our parts to support each other’s efforts.”

The biggest step forward in the partnership came last summer, when CHCD decided to give their facilities a major renovation. Wright knew that the healthy, delicious meals are one of the most popular features at AlmaVia of Camarillo, so it only made sense that their biggest contribution to CHCD would be a culinary one.

AlmaVia of Camarillo offered to sponsor the kitchen renovation and continue to support kitchen operations and the meal program. It’s a long-term commitment that will span five years, but Wright says that longevity only underscores her dedication to the collaboration.

Now, Wright and her team use that new kitchen to further serve the community. Charles Bertok, AlmaVia of Camarillo’s Director of Culinary Services, visits CHCD each month as a Chef du Jour, where he prepares meals for participants in CHCD’s Building Hope Adult Day Center.

“Charles always has the highest of praise for the staff and volunteers, and how they interact with the participants,” Wright says. “Their praise of Charles and his culinary skills are always just as high—so it’s a win-win.”

In addition to the meal arrangement, members of the two organizations attend one another’s events, spread the word about each other’s programs, and help guide the community’s seniors to whichever resource best suits their needs.

Wright, for example, explains that she has referred a number of people to CHCD’s Wellness and Caregiver Center of Ventura County, which provides guidance and support for individuals who serve as primary caregivers for a loved one.

“There are people who can’t necessarily afford to come to us, but we know they still need those resources,” Wright says. “With this program at CHCD, they have the opportunity to take care of themselves as well as take care of others.”

In the future, Wright says she’d like to see AlmaVia of Camarillo residents take more advantage of CHCD’s daytime programming for seniors—including music programs, exercise classes, brain-strengthening activities, and much more.

“I would like to make that a stronger connection, so we can continue to enrich these individuals’ lives even further,” Wright says.