In keeping with daily guidance from state and local authorities, the SeniorAge Area Agency on Aging has continued its community engagement through meal delivery and telephone reassurance for the more than 17,000 seniors relying for up-to-date information and support.
Meal program continue in Texas County.
Seniors who previously were receiving home-delivered meals have continued receiving them without interruption. Seniors 60 and over who generally dine in at their local senior center are now able to drive thru and pick up their meal at their nearest center. Additionally, individuals 60 and over who might not be frequent diners but find themselves in need of a nutritious meal can also get one to go.
The Houston Senior Center continues to help seniors in the county with its food program despite being closed, said Bernadine Hohlt, director.
The center delivers twice weekly — Tuesdays and Thursdays — in the city limits. It includes a week’s worth of frozen meals, milk and desserts for about 130 people, Hohlt said. The frozen meal pickup program, done from curbside, has increased, she said. Residents of Raymondville, Licking, Success, Plato, Roby and outside the Houston city limits benefit. Often, family members, home workers or friends drop by and pick meals up weekly, bi-monthly or monthly, depending on freezer storage space. The lead culinary staff and Hohlt are currently overseeing efforts while normal volunteers are gone.
The Houston Senior Center provides 2,000 to 2,500 monthly meals for the program. With the delivery program that represents about 3,050 frozen meals.
The dining room — before it closed — served an average of about 500 monthly hot meals.
All of the delivery work is performed for four men who work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Recipients are required to meet them at the door during the threat of coronavirus.
Extra measures are in place to ensure that safety and no-contact guidelines are implemented for the staff preparing the meals, volunteers who are delivering meals, and seniors receiving meals. Since the closure of our facilities to the public, thousands of meals have already been prepared/distributed.
Additionally, SeniorAge has been checking in on seniors via telephone reassurance calls, ensuring they are in good health, have adequate supplies for the week and are combating the isolation struggles they might be facing. Through social media and a newly launched text alert program, the agency also provides constant updates on the CoronaVirus outbreak and ways to stay active while isolating at home.
“For over 45 years SeniorAge has come alongside our seniors,” said CEO Starr Kohler, “helping them through fearful changes in their lives, through personal tragedies and challenges. This is one more time when we can be there for them — listening, helping and finding a way through. Our hundreds of volunteers have continued their faithful meal deliveries, our staff are still in place, providing telephone reassurance and connection to the services that are needed.
“We’re staying in place so seniors have a place to turn.”
The Houston Senior Center’s telephone number is 417-967-2013