By Tamas Mondovics
Johnson County Senior Center staff and volunteers are forever grateful for county and city residents’ support to provide meals for senior adults during January.
“Members of the community have once again reached out and are continuing to reach out to help meet senior adults’ nutritional needs in Johnson County,” said Center Director Kathy Motsinger.
Motsinger emphasized that several meal programs operate out of the Johnson County Senior Center, located at 128 College Street, in Mountain City, TN, and to help clear up confusion, mentioned a pair of programs; Meals on Wheels and Congregate Meals, which are currently offered.
“Meals on Wheels is a federally funded program that provides hot meals daily to homebound or shut-in senior adults,” she said. “Participation for this program is based on the population of the county.
Johnson County currently receives daily meals for 30 people, and there is a waiting list. An additional 21 people receive frozen meals through federal programming.
“Congregate Meals are meals currently being served through the drive-through pick up line daily 11 a.m.-noon while supplies last each day,” Motsinger said while adding that currently, Johnson County receives 55 meals per day. The number of meals sent to Johnson County is based on population. “We were approved to receive additional meals at the beginning of the year.”
Food for these above programs is provided by First Tennessee Area Agency and First Tennessee Human Resources Agency and brought to Johnson County daily from Johnson City.
In addition to the above meal program, weekly meal delivery to members is considered to be in dire need during the pandemic, meaning they cannot care for themselves, socially isolated, or suffer from food insecurity, and some members are on the Meals on Wheels waiting list. Currently, 70 people have five frozen meals and one hot meal delivered to them each week.
The meals are delivered to members throughout the county and have been locally funded through donations from local businesses and individuals, grants from the Neighbor to Neighbor Community Foundation grants, Boyd Foundation grant, and United Way grant.
The assistance that was requested for January was to help with the meal delivery for meals not provided by the First Tennessee Human Resources Agency and for which no federal, state, or local funds are provided.
Motsinger assured that the center would begin applying for different grants that open on January 1, 2021, “for our seniors not receiving federal government funding.”
For more information, please visit the Johnson County Senior Center Facebook page, or call (423) 727-8883.