By Dave Russell
The Department on Aging takes its service on the road in a few weeks to provide shelf-stable meals to seniors around the county.
“What we’re doing is community outreach, partnering with some of the community centers in Jackson County,” said Eddie Wells, director of the DOA. “Basically, they’re just allowing us to come and bring meals on three different dates.”
Twelve locations across the county have been chosen for the drive-through program.
“We’re bringing shelf-stable meals and encouraging seniors to come through to pick up a box of food,” Wells said. “We’ll have staff and a vehicle there, and we’ll set the meals in the back seat of their car to help with food insecurity. There are seniors out there who are not doing much shopping because of the pandemic and we’re trying to reach out to them the best way we can.”
This program would augment the department’s established Meals on Wheels.
“This is not a program we typically do,” he said.
“We’ve got some CARES funding and while we have a lot of participation in our programs, you always wonder about seniors in our community who don’t participate in what we do, so we decided to try to reach out to some of these other communities.”
The DOA will be giving out 25 food boxes at each location on a first-come, first-served basis.
“The shelf-stable meals are great,” Wells said. “They have a good shelf life, and each one has five meals.”
The boxes are ordered from Trio Community Meals, he said.
Items in the boxes might include canned goods, chicken and tuna single-serve packs, instant milk, juice, snacks, crackers, cereal and more.
No advance registration is required.
“We will write their name down just so we have a record of who we helped, but there is no pre-qualification,” he said. “We are asking that it be a senior. Most of our programs start at age 60, but there is not a definite number that we have to adhere to.”
Meals can be picked up for homebound seniors.
“Just tell us who it is for,” he said. “We’d like to know their age, too, so we know the demographic we’re serving.”
The effort is also designed as an outreach tool, he said.
“We’re hoping that people who don’t already use our services will enroll in some of our other programs,” he said.
Meals will be served from 11 a.m. until noon at the following locations:
Barkers Creek Community Building, Savannah Community Building, Canada Fire Department, Cashiers Senior Center.
Savannah Fire Department, Caney Fork VFD, Skyland Service Center, Qualla Community Building.
Glenville-Cashiers EMS, Balsam-Willets VFD, Department on Aging, Tuckasegee VFW.