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Meals on Wheels

March 26, 2020 - 3:23pm
posted by Virginia Kropf in Meals on Wheels, coronavirus, news, Matilda's Law, elderly.

While the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc with normal life across the country, recipients of Meals on Wheels in Genesee County can rest assured their meal delivery will continue.

Paul Saskowski, director of Business Services for the Arc of Orleans and Genesee, said they have had to make adjustments, but their employees are taking things in stride, and all recipients are receiving their meals as usual.

He said for the most part they have had no trouble receiving food from their supplier, although he said the supplier has found it more difficult to get food, as the food chains are demanding more.

“The only trouble we’ve had is getting one of our whole wheat breads, but we were able to find a suitable substitute,” Saskowski said.

He said drivers are taking extra precautions, wearing gloves, keeping their distance and using hand sanitizer after every delivery. He said Emergency Management offices in both counties have been very helpful, providing hand sanitizer they had in reserve.

Both congregate meal sites in Orleans and Genesee counties were forced to close and five people in Orleans County and 30 in Genesee County, who relied on the meal sites, were transferred to home meal delivery.

Saskowski said they have a goal to provide each Meals on Wheels recipient with extra meals, so they have a stockpile of food in their house.

“It is our goal in Orleans County to provide each household with 10 extra meals, in case we are pulled off the road for any reason,” Saskowski said. “We are very close to that goal.”

In spite of all the adjustments, Saskowski praised his staff, saying their attitude through all of this has been wonderful.

In Genesee County, Office for the Aging Director Diana Fox and services administrator Dorian Ely weighed in on the situation.

“We are working to build emergency services here so we can provide two extra meals per recipient,” Fox said. “We are also very committed to keeping the personal contact with our clientele. Those who, for one reason or another, do not receive a meal that day get a call from us to make sure they are all right.”

Their drivers also wear masks and leave the meal just inside the door, unless the recipient needs it put in a more convenient place. Then the driver will put it where the client needs it to be, keeping his distance, Ely said.

Before starting out, volunteer drivers are encouraged to take their temperature to make sure they are all right.

Recent passing of Matilda’s Law by Albany has placed more hardship on the program, as many of their volunteers are elderly themselves, Fox and Ely added.

“The law sets a strict set of rules for the vulnerable populations, like senior citizens or people with underlying conditions,” Ely said. “Many of our volunteers fall into that category.”

Fox said Matilda’s Law* affects all seniors in Genesee County and it’s important everyone understands the law and how it pertains to them. The law states that these people must stay inside, not visit homes with multiple people and maintain six feet of distance from others.

The Arc delivers Meals on Wheels to about 120 homes in each county.

*Editor's Note: Matilda's Law, named for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's mother, was announced last week as part of the "New York on Pause" Executive Order, which took affect at 8 p.m. Sunday. It includes the following rules for vulnerable populations:

  • Remain indoors;
  • Can go outside for solitary exercise;
  • Prescreen all visitors and aides by taking their temperature and seeing if person is exhibiting other flu-like symptoms;
  • Do not visit households with multiple people;
  • Wear a mask when in the company of others;
  • To the greatest extent possible, everyone in the presence of vulnerable people should wear a mask;
  • Always stay at least six feet away from individuals; and
  • Do not take public transportation unless urgent and absolutely necessary.
December 17, 2019 - 4:17pm

Photo, from left: James, Curtis, Wendie Davis, Jesse, Justin, and Dorian Ely.

Submitted photo and press release:

The Friends for the Future Self-Advocacy Group from Arc of Genesee Orleans generously donated $100 to the Genesee County Meals on Wheels program today (Dec. 17).

Wendie Davis, the case manager for meals on wheels, accepted the donation on behalf of the Genesee Senior Foundation and the Genesee County Office for the Aging.

Dorian Ely, services administrator, noted that the county has seen about a 45-percent increase in the number of individuals receiving home-delivered meals this year.

Davis, who orders the meals, said that at the beginning of this year, a daily meal order ran about 75 and now it is around 110. This gift will help support a critical program for older adults in our community.

Donations to the Meals on Wheels program in Genesee County may be made to the: Genesee Senior Foundation, 2 Bank St., Batavia NY 14021.

Questions about the work of the Foundation may be directed to Ely at the Office for the Aging 585-343-1611.

February 6, 2019 - 12:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia PD, batavia, news, Meals on Wheels.

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Press release:

The City of Batavia Police Department assisted the Genesee County Office for the Aging with delivering meals to seniors who participate in the Meals on Wheels Program in the City of Batavia yesterday.

Officer Jason Davis, along with his wife, Office for the Aging employee Wendy Davis, delivered several meals to City residents.

The following info is from the Genesee County Office for the Aging website;

“Home Delivered Meals are available to any Genesee County resident 60 years of age or older who is incapacitated due to illness, surgery, physical handicap or advancing age, AND is unable to prepare their own meals, AND is without support of family, friends or neighbors for meal preparation. Services are available based on need without regard to income.

Meals are delivered Monday through Friday between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. There is no delivery on holidays. Services may be discontinued at any time, or can be interrupted if needed for vacations or hospitalizations.

To see the monthly menu, go the County Office for the Aging website here and click on Menus on left side of the home page. To see the February menu, for example, click here.

Everyone that receives a meal has the opportunity to contribute. The suggested contribution is $3 per single meal and $4.50 for a double meal. No one is refused service for inability to contribute.

Referrals may be made to the Home Delivered Meals Intake worker by calling (585) 343-1611.

dsc_0002meals.jpg

June 29, 2018 - 7:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in kohl's, Meals on Wheels, Office of the Aging, Seniors, charity.

Above photo of Kohl's volunteers who helped deliver flowers to seniors in Genesee County, from left: Dar Moleski, Corde Smart and Andrea Osewalt-Renz. Not pictured: Jeffrey DeMare.

Press release and submitted photos:

Beautiful bouquets of flowers were hand delivered to more than 80 Meals on Wheels recipients this week, creating a wave of surprise and an abundance of smiles across Genesee County. An individual called to express her gratitude, saying the gesture had made her week.

The Office for the Aging and the RSVP Volunteer Placement Program are pleased to have partnered with the Kohl’s Batavia store for Kohl’s Cares Associates in Action. 

Five local employees volunteered their morning to help bring joy to area older adults. Additionally, Kohl’s Corporation will make a monetary donation to the Genesee Senior Foundation to further support programming for residents 60 and older, their caregivers and younger individuals with disabilities.

The special flower delivery was made possible through the generosity of a private donation, specifically to benefit the lives of our more homebound residents. Anyone interested in donating is encouraged to do so through the Genesee Senior Foundation, a nonprofit affiliated with the Office for the Aging.

Please call Dorian Ely, Services Coordinator at 343-1611 to learn more about charitable donations to the Foundation.

The Office for the Aging wishes to thank everyone involved in making this day special, including staff and volunteers from Kohl’s, OFA, RSVP and the ARC Culinary Program.

Photo below is Doreen Wright, the woman who coordinated the flower-delivery effort between Kohl’s and the Office for the Aging.

March 17, 2017 - 10:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, Meals on Wheels.

UPDATE:  Some information just came to my attention that I didn't know about at the time I wrote this story, and apparently, Chris Collins didn't know about either.  The budget proposal doesn't directly cut Meals on Wheels at all.  It cuts a community block grant program that is used for a lot of things, and a tiny portion of that money sometimes goes to Meals on Wheels.  There are also other federal funding sources for Meals on Wheels. See this article from Reason Magazine.

------

During an appearance on CNN last night, Rep. Chris Collins vowed to support Meals on Wheels through the congressional budget process.

"It's a wonderful program," Collins said. "I would never even vote to cut $1 from that program."

Though she didn't directly hear Collins on TV last night, that's good news to Ruth Spink, director for Office of the Aging, which administers Meals on Wheels in Genesee County. She said the program has many benefits for the residents who participate, their families and the volunteers who help deliver meals.

A budget proposal put forward by President Donald Trump would cut all federal support for Meals on Wheels.

Spink said at the spur of the moment when we called this morning say how much of the funding for the local program comes from the federal government, but that the program is subsidized by federal and state money along with a county match, which makes up 90 percent of the funding for the program. Elderly participants who receive meals also have the option to pay for the meals, though that is not a requirement.

Spink said in the county, about 90 meals are delivered per day and another 30 are served at a community meal hosted at various locations.

The benefits of the program go beyond meal delivery, Spink said. The daily visits by volunteers can also serve to check on the welfare of elderly people, giving peace of mind to them and their family members, as well as give many of these people who are shut-ins a bit of social time with another person, and it allows older people to stay in their homes longer, which saves taxpayers money.

"Perhaps Trump doesn't understand that the more in-home service we can provide the longer we keep them out of residential care, which is significantly more costly than home delivered meals," Spink said.

There is a group of about 25 people who volunteer to deliver and serve meals, and groups such as the Kiwanis Club of Batavia provide more volunteers on a rotating basis.

Collins told Van Jones on CNN last night that his mother-in-law received Meals on Wheels before she died and that when he was county administrator in Erie County; he oversaw the program there and visited the community centers that ran the program, so he knows how important and valuable it is, he said.

Spink said she understands there is a whole budget process Congress must go through before the fate of Meals on Wheels is decided and support from Collins is great, but people need to speak out, she said.

"It's only a proposed budget, so we don't want people to panic, but we do want people to let their representatives know how important this program is to them," Spink said.

On the show, Collins said he also supported immigration reform that would make it easier for farmers to hire and retain immigrant labor and that he believes immigrants who came here without documentation but have been productive and stayed out of legal trouble otherwise should be allowed to stay in the country legally. He was addressing a young lady who is part of the Dream Act Program and Collins told her he welcomed her to our country and wished her a long and successful life in the United States. He said he didn't believe any undocumented workers who hadn't committed criminal acts once in the United States were being deported.

He reiterated his support for an NIH program he helped sponsor to help deal with the opioid epidemic, but when pressed by Van Jones on the issue, which Trump campaigned on, Collins said many of the issues around opioid addiction are really state-level issues.

Renee Sutton, of Canandaigua, one of his constituents, pressed Collins on why he hasn't held, and has refused to hold, a town hall meeting. Collins said he never held one while county executive in Erie County and hadn't held one before this became an explosive issue this year. He said he doesn't believe in them because they are not a productive way to hold meaningful conversations with constituents. He said he meets with constituents all the time and values small group discussions, such as those he regularly has with farmers and medical professionals. He said any constituent can request a meeting with him and he will meet with them.

May 1, 2012 - 1:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Genesee ARC, Meals on Wheels.

It's one of those situations where everybody wins -- people dependent on Meals on Wheels will once again get five days of meal delivery, Genesee ARC is able to expand the services it provides the county, and the county's budget won't be severely impacted.

On Monday, the Public Service Committee approved a contract with Genesee ARC to handle the Meals on Wheels program for the Office of Aging.

The cost to the county will be about the same -- $186,425 annually -- as the current program, which delivers meals only three days a week.

The new program will also deliver hot meals, instead of cold dishes.

"We think it will be a nice service for people, with the personal check for people and they get a nice hot meal," said Pam Whitmore, director of Office for the Aging.

The previous meal provider was the American Red Cross out of Rochester.

The cost works out to about the same because it was costing nearly a $1 per meal just for delivery of meals from Rochester. That $1 will now go toward increased service and improved meals.

The meals will be prepared by Genesee ARC staff and clients at its renovated facility at 38 Woodrow Road, Batavia.

Whitmore said one reason Genesee ARC won the contract is the organization's emphasis on customer service.

"Being part of Genesee County, they really wanted to do what was best for the people in the program," Whitmore said.

WBTA's Dan Fischer contributed to this story.

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