Mason County Senior Meals: It’s more than a meal.

March 20, 2019

Mason County Senior Meals: It’s more than a meal.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

SCOTTVILLE — Each week day, 150 homebound senior citizens around Mason County are provided a fresh cooked meal through the Mason County Senior Meals program. For over 30 years, the program has been administered by Mason County Central Public Schools Food Service.

Meals are through legislation created by the Older Americans Act of 1965. In 1972, President Richard Nixon amended the act and established a national nutrition program for seniors ages 60 and older. Funds comes from the Area Agency on Aging, United Way of Mason County, Mason County Council on Aging and customer donations.

In observance of Community Champions Week, Mary Ann Nielsen, director of MCC Food Service, hosted some community leaders and the media to share information about the program.

“The program is helpful to ensure a balanced nutritious diet and provide for those who have difficulty preparing food for themselves,” Nielsen said. “Our program helps seniors to stay in their homes and maintain a desirable weight.”

The meals consist of a hot meal at lunch, which includes a main entree, vegetable, fruit, break, and milk. Optional cold second meals are also provided for breakfast and/or dinner along with frozen meals for the weekends. Customers who are able pay a suggested donation of $3 per meal. Customers who do not meet qualifications may still order meals at $6 per meal, paid upon delivery.

“It’s more than a meal,” Nielsen said while talking about how the delivery persons keep an eye out for each customer and get to know many of them. “The delivery drivers really get to know each client’s pattern and their behaviors and are often the only interaction the clients have daily.”

Nielsen said drivers will often discover clients who have fallen down or are in need of medical care. Sadly, there are also times when they have discovered clients who have passed away.

“Most of the time, it’s a very rewarding experience and the clients are very appreciative,” Nielsen said.

During recent stormy weather, senior meals were only cancelled three times. Nielsen said often the clients will call in advance and tell the drivers that road conditions are too bad to travel. “Travel is typically at the driver’s discretion,” Nielsen said. “It’s funny because they will deliver on a day with bad weather and the customer will scold them for traveling in such bad weather.”

Senior meals also provides lunches for Scottville Area Senior Center, Ludington Area Senior Center, and Tallman Senior Center in Sheridan Township. Those meals include a hot entree, bread, milk, and a full salad bar. Like the delivered meal, the cost is a suggested donation of $3 per meal. Qualified seniors can eat for $1.

MCC Food Service’s eight employees also prepare 1,000 school lunches and 400 breakfasts daily. With the exception of MCC High School, the school and senior meals are prepared at MCC Middle School. Meals are provided to all Mason County Central schools, including Victory Early Childhood Center, Scottville Elementary, MCC Upper Elementary, MCC Middle School, and MCC High School. Meals are also provided to Gateway to Success Academy, West Shore Educational Service District, Fountain Head Start, and Ludington Area Catholic School. Most of the delivered meals for seniors and the schools leave the middle school by 10:30 a.m.

MCC Food Service also provides summer meals for area children at MCC Upper Elementary, Fountain Community Center, Ludington Waterfront Park, Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Ludington, Pere Marquette Early Childhood Center in Ludington, and Mason County District Library Ludington branch. Nielsen said last year 60 meals were served daily. The food service also provides meals to migrant children, served at MCC Upper Elementary.

To learn more about the senior meal program, call 231-757-5721 or email [email protected].

This story is copyrighted © 2019, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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