Senior Monongalians and Preston County Senior Citizens have stopped serving in-house meals, because of COVID-19, but home deliveries are continuing and have more benefits than just providing food.
Senior Mons used to offer daily hot meals at its location off Green Bag Road but that changed to pick-up meals because of the novel coronavirus, according to Debbie Clarke, front office supervisor.
Preston County Senior Citizens made the same move, Executive Director Janie Lou White said.
White said the center is still serving the same meals but the switch has doubled the need for packaging.
A partnership with Kroger provides Senior Mons with baked goods that used to be available during lunch but are now included in the curbside meals, Clarke said.
More people normally came in for the group meal than for grab-and-go, Clarke said.
“We’re hoping more people will take advantage of it,” she said. “I think people are trying to adhere to the guidelines they hear.”
A curbside meal can be ordered by calling 304-296-9812 from 8-10 a.m. for Senior Mons or 304-329-0462 for Preston.
However, there has been an increase in the number of people requesting home-delivered meals, from about 75 a day to 100 a day, Clarke said. Some of them are just during the pandemic, others are folks who’ve realized they’re going to need the meals on a regular basis.
A donation is requested for both curbside and delivered meals, White said. The average is about $2 a meal.
If a senior qualifies for a home-delivered meal, his or her spouse and any disabled people living with them automatically qualify for a meal as well, Clarke said.
Getting the home-delivered meal starts with a call to either Senior Mons or Preston County Senior Citizens.
Both centers said they could use monetary donations.
According to White, there’s another benefit to home-delivered meals, something that’s been known to people who work with seniors for years but only recently quantified in a study — those who get the meals have more frequent interactions with the health care system.
They see more doctors and get more lab work done, she said. That’s because someone is physically putting eyes on that person three to five times a week, White said.
“We put volunteers through an extensive training program in addition to a food handler’s card,” White said. “We want people going there not just to drop off a meal but to make sure the person they are delivering the meal to is safe and their needs are being met and then they let us know if someone is in need.”
The center works with a variety of social services and can link seniors to what they need — even if it’s a visit to the veterinarian for a sick dog, White said.