By Tamas Mondovics and Janet Rhea Payne
With no end in sight, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause interruption for a wide variety of services, many of which are considered lifelines for local residents. According to Johnson County Senior Center Director Kathy Motsinger, the Johnson County Senior Center is now closed and will reopen on Monday, August 17.
“Meal distribution has been interrupted at this time due to the increasing number of cases of COVID-19 in our county,” Motsinger said. “Upon reopening, we will resume the distribution of restaurant meals, and the drive-through pick up meals.
Motsinger added that the MyRide service would only transport clients for medical appointments scheduled before August 1.
“The senior center is taking all precautions to keep our senior members safe during this global crisis,” she said.
The news of closing the doors comes just days after a generous donation by the Boyd Foundation. President of the University of Tennessee System, Randy Boyd, visited the Johnson County Extension Office last month and asked what the immediate needs were in Johnson County due to COVID-19. The Extension Service staff and County Mayor Mike Taylor shared information about the reduction of meals served to senior adults sheltering at home due to funding issues.
After follow-up conversations with Mayor Mike Taylor and Senior Center Director Kathy Motsinger, Boyd sent $21,000 from the Boyd Foundation to the Johnson County Senior Center to work with local restaurants to provide 100 meals per day for senior adult center members in Johnson County.Those receiving these meals were selected based on physical, financial, emotional needs, or physical isolation. According to Center officials, 20 restaurants have taken part in providing these meals during July, August, and part of September.
Randy Boyd is the founder and chairman of Radio Systems Corporation in Knoxville, Boyd Sports, and TN Achieves. Two years ago, Boyd and his wife, Jenny, formed the Boyd Foundation with plans to donate millions of dollars to Tennessee causes that spoke to their hearts. Since its foundation, the Boyds have reportedly given away more than ten million dollars.
Motsinger emphasized that “senior adults and restaurant owners of Johnson County are appreciative of the generous donation from the Boyd Foundation.”
The Johnson County Senior Center is seeking more volunteers. For more information, please call the senior center at 727-8883.