By LINDA WOODLAND
Seneca County Commission on Aging has been working to ensure its services for the county’s most vulnerable population continues while staying in line with Gov. Mike DeWine’s orders to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
“We had already been working to reduce deliveries without having to reduce any service,” Brian Glover, executive director of Seneca County Commission on Aging, said.
He said the commission has been working the past couple weeks on changing the structure of home delivered meals so anyone on the hot home delivered meal service gets those every day.
“What we’re trying to do is reduce the number of interactions. You know, that social distancing thing so we’re not continually exposing clients,” he said.
Beginning next Monday, the commission will be switching all clients over to microwavable meals that will be delivered once a week.
“So if they would normally get the meals every day, after Friday, we would start delivering just once a week on Monday, and they would have enough meals to last them the entire week.”
Because the governor closed all bars and restaurants from on-premise dining Sunday, the challenge for the commission has been addressing how to deliver meals to those who receive them at the commission’s meal sites.
The commission provides congregate meals Monday through Friday at two locations in Tiffin and at Norfolk Place, 601 Findlay St., in Fostoria.
“So my dilemma was, the clients that come in, they still need those meals from that service. But how do we do it in a safe manner? What we were waiting on was a waiver from the state because they have direction on how those meals have to be delivered,” he said, adding the program’s conditions of participation prohibited seniors from picking up a meal as a carry out. “They have to stay there and eat it.”
Glover said Ohio Association of Senior Centers scheduled a conference call with the director of the Department of Aging regarding the exact manner in how meals can be distributed.
“What they’re going to do is, temporarily, seniors can come into the center, we will have five meals ready for them. And they can take that with them and take it home and have it for the next week,” he said. “They need to call and make a reservation by Wednesday because we can only do what we’ve got reservations for.”
Glover said meals will continue to be served at the commission’s meal sites through Friday.
“And then on Friday the 20th, they could stop in and have a hot meal and take the following week’s meals home with them,” he said, noting the meals come frozen and can be kept in the freezer or refrigerator until they are ready to be eaten. The meals can be prepared using a microwave or a conventional oven, he said.
To order meals Wednesday for pickup Friday at Norfolk Place. call 419-435-0436.