Senior centers reopen for lunch
Seniors once again are welcome to visit their local centers for lunch, but managers are proceeding with caution when serving an age group susceptible to severe illness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Delivery and pickup of meals still will be offered in Marion, Hillsboro and Peabody.
Diners are being encouraged to make reservations for meals and let volunteers know whether they plan to dine in, pick up their meals or have them delivered.
Staffs of all three centers will be sanitizing surfaces and socially distancing visitors.
“We are encouraging people to wear masks. Because this is a vulnerable group of people in here,” said Marion Senior Center nutrition site manager Janet Bryant.
Chairs have been rearranged to encourage social distancing.
Sneeze guards have been installed at Hillsboro Senior Center, said site manager Brenda Moss.
Masks will be optional, but the center is accepting donations of hand sanitizer to give out to its visitors. The center also needs volunteers to help serve.
Clients are being asked to reserve meals on Friday each week to help staff plan menus.
“Our cook is having trouble getting stuff in foodwise and may need to change things out,” she said. “We are asking people to call so she has a good count when ordering food on Monday.”
Site mangers don’t plan to check the temperatures of visitors but urge them to use common sense.
“If you do not feel good at all in the slightest, please stay home,” Moss said.
LouAnn Bowlin, site manager at Peabody, said she understood some clients still might want meals delivered.
“Everyone’s still really in an iffy position,” she said.
The community in Peabody has been a Godsend during state-mandated closures, she said. Many offered to deliver meals in place of elderly volunteers who sheltered in their homes.
“We had a wonderful turnout, she said. “It was such a blessing.”
Activities at all three centers will be gradual as site managers would rather play it safe for now.
“We’re just starting to have people come back and eat right now,” Moss said. “Let’s see how June goes.”