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Senior Center serves meals during COVID-19

Submitted by Janet Rhea Payne
Johnson County Senior Center Administrative Assistant

To say that life has changed for everyone over the past few weeks would be an understatement. However, the more things change, the more some things remain the same.  The Johnson County Senior Center is a prime example. The center is closed, but serving the senior citizens of Johnson County remains the purpose of the center, no matter what is happening in the world.

Last week more than 500 meals were served to the seniors of Johnson County despite the center being closed. Members could drive up and have their meals delivered to their cars, all the while complying with the suggested safety guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meals were delivered to shut-ins throughout Johnson County, as well.

“For many of the recipients of the delivered meals, those providing them were the only human contact they had that day,” said Johnson County Senior Center Director Kathy Motsinger.

Prepackaged meals are delive

red each day to the Johnson County Senior Center from the Northeast Meals on Wheels from Carter County.  The lunches often have extra treats donated by Food Lion of Mountain City and Lowes Foods of Banner Elk, North Carolina.

“Without the tireless efforts of the many volunteers, these meals would not be able to be delivered,” Motsinger said.

Motsinger, the Advisory Board, and staff are to be commended for their thoughtful planning and implementation of the meal service to the senior citizens of Johnson County.

“This was new, uncharted territory for the Senior Center, and all involved have risen to the occasion to meet the needs of the seniors in our community,” Motsinger said.

The plan created by the Director and Advisory Board has not only been successfully implemented in Johnson County but has been used as a model for other Senior Centers in the district.

The staff and volunteers are doing their best to see that approximately 100 seniors receive meals each day through the services of the Johnson County Senior Center.  Several community members have asked how they may best assist during this time of need.

There are unexpected costs that are not covered in the financial budget of the Johnson County Senior Center.  Donations may be made to the Johnson County Senior Citizens Center at 128 College Street in Mountain City from 11-12 each day or mailed. Checks should be made payable to Johnson County Senior Center.