When DHIC and The Presbyterian Homes Inc. worked together on the major renovations of Capital Towers, a few years ago, creating communal gathering spaces for the residents was a key part of the plans. “Many of the 300-plus seniors living in Capital Towers are long-term residents and have become friends with their neighbors over the years,” according to DHIC’s Manager of Resident Services, LaTonya Mckoy. “We recognize the importance of these connections and know that when people feel supported by those in their community, they tend to lead happier, healthier lives”. 

In October of 2023, a Meals on Wheels Wake County Friendship Cafe officially opened in Capital Towers, giving these residents a convenient place to get a fresh meal with their neighbors. Meals on Wheels Wake County, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, has long delivered meals to the seniors living at Capital Towers, and opening a Friendship Cafe seemed like a natural fit for the property. 

Director of Development & Communications for Meals on Wheels Wake County, Mary Kate Keith says, “We were able to create a space in Capital Towers that is cozy and inviting, featuring windows with a view, a nice kitchen, and comfortable seating where residents can gather together each day.” 

The cafe is open to residents of Capital Towers who are over 60 years old and not currently receiving home delivery from Meals on Wheels. Residents can reserve their meals the day before they plan to eat at the cafe and there is no charge for participation. 

Site Manager, Les Ligon, explains: “The Friendship Cafe is about more than just a place for the residents to eat lunch together. We use the space to offer coffee, tea, and water at 9 am, then host an activity at 10 am, and the hot meals are delivered at 11 am. This gives the participants a chance to connect with their neighbors for several hours every day while eating a nutritious meal.” 

The activities hosted in the Friendship Cafe help connect the residents with community partners and provide mental and physical stimulation to help promote a happy and healthy lifestyle. In the six months since the cafe opened, these events have included the following: 

Of course, at the end of the day, the Friendship Cafe is all about serving the residents and ensuring they feel supported in their community. When asked about the cafe in a recent satisfaction survey, the residents were quick to show their support, saying their favorite aspects of the cafe were the following: 

  • “Meeting new friends.”
  • “The friendship and ability to socialize”
  • “The staff is nice and I enjoy the hospitality.”
  • “The music, the food, the games, and the whole experience.”
  • “The camaraderie.”

Currently, about 25-30 residents regularly visit the Friendship Cafe daily, and the hope is that more will frequent it as word spreads among neighbors. Residents who would like to eat at the cafe can start receiving meals in as little as 24 hours after registering. Additionally, Les is onsite from 9 am to 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday, and available to answer any questions.

If you’re interested in learning more about Meals on Wheels Wake County or if you’d like to volunteer in a Friendship Cafe in the Triangle, please click here