congregate meals

A group of ladies gathered at Senior and Family Services Monday to enjoy a hot meal. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the Main Street agency will offer hot meals to seniors at 11:30 a.m.

If you are 60 or older and looking to grab a bite to eat for lunch downtown on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays, check out Senior and Family Services.

Jodi Rook, fiscal director for Senior and Family Services, said that starting this week hot meals will once again be served at the Main Street facility.

“We started serving hot meals again Monday,” said Rook, who said the meals are available to seniors for a free will donation and to those under the age of 60 for a suggested donation of $4. “We are now fixing those hot meals on site for those wanting to come in and eat here. Meals are served at 11:30 a.m. most days and once a month, we will be offering a brunch with biscuits and gravy and hash brown potatoes. The brunch will be offered at 9:30 a.m. and on those days, we will not offer a lunch.”

For two years, Rook said hot meals were provided for not only those enjoying some camaraderie at Senior and Family Services but those who were homebound as well. Due to state requirements, that program was discontinued at the end of June.

“We were very grateful that we were able to offer those hot meals for the last two years,” said Rook, who said now the staff at Senior and Family is preparing the meals based off of approved menus that meet the nutritional guidelines.

Now that Meals on Wheels hot meal program has been halted, Rook said clients now have several options of frozen meals delivered to their home they can choose from but it’s not the same.

“Several of the clients prefer the hot meals,” said Rook, who said she is hopeful the program will be resumed at some point if there’s enough interest in the congregate meals being served in house. “The frozen meals come in big packages and are sometimes hard for clients to handle.”

Rook and Senior and Family Services Activities Director Judy Bullock said there’s a social aspect to the meals too.

“When a hot meal was delivered, the person delivering that meal could check to make sure the person was OK. Sometimes that delivery person may be the only person a client saw that day,” said Bullock who said during the inaugural day of the meals being prepared in house, several new clients enjoyed a meal of chicken tenders, green beans and french fries.

Wednesday’s menu includes ham and beans with corn bread, spinach, banana pudding and milk.

“That was one of the favorites of the clients when Meals on Wheels were still delivered here from Ferdinand,” said Bullock. “They really seemed to enjoy that.”

Rook said menus, which vary by season, will be posted so those interested in having some lunch and enjoying some fellowship know what’s for lunch.

“We have copies of the menu for the month available here,” said Rook, who said the menu will also be printed in the Washington Times Herald. “Anyone is welcome to join us for lunch. We just ask that they let us know they are coming a day ahead of time so we can have enough food prepared.”

Rook said she’s hoping to grow the number of community members coming in for the congregate lunches.

“We would love to have 50 or 60,” she said.

Those interested in reserving a spot for lunch can call 812-254-1881 and ask for Rook.

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