The Grand Forks Senior Center has closed its doors, but it still is serving its clients.
“We want seniors to know that we are going to keep feeding them,” said Jami Schumacher, Grand Forks Senior Center public relations manager.
The center has canceled all of its activities and on-site meals until, at the earliest, Friday, May 1, but is continuing to provide Meals on Wheels and Home-Delivered Meals, and it is operating a drive-thru service.
The center is offering hot meals to people ages 60 and older, who are not on its meal delivery program, via its drive-thru service . The meals are available from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the Grand Forks Senior Center building at 620 Fourth Ave. South. The hours will be extended to accommodate people, if necessary.
Anyone 60 years or older who wants a meal, can call (701) 772-7245 to find out the daily menu or find the menus online at www.gfseniorcenter.org/menus The center also is encouraging people who are picking up meals to get them for neighbors 60 years or older. The center will need the full name and birth date of each person who is receiving a meal.
The center is not currently accepting donations for the meals, but people can keep track of how many meals they receive and donate later, if they want to do so.
The Senior Center also is continuing its Meals on Wheels and Home Delivered Meals programs while its doors are closed. The center is taking precautions to ensure the healthy and safety of people receiving the meals, Schumacher said.
“Volunteers will be coming here, will be temperature-tested and immediately will wash their hands. They have hand sanitizer to take with them,” said Schumacher, noting that the center has let its regular volunteers know that they are not obligated to deliver meals if they are concerned about their safety and health.
Besides the hot, delivered meals, the center also is delivering frozen meals to people 60 and older in Grand Forks and Nelson counties. Volunteers last week delivered 40 meals to rural residents in Grand Forks County and 128 meals to rural Nelson County residents. The frozen meals also are available from the drive-thru, but the orders must be placed ahead of time by calling (701) 772-7245 or (701) 757-4869. There is no need to call the Senior Center if just coming for a hot drive-thru meal.
Besides making food options available, the senior center staff is working to set up a program to match seniors with volunteers who will assist them with their needs, Schumacher said. In the meantime, the center asks that people reach out to their friends and neighbors who are seniors and “adopt” them.
On the flip side, seniors also should reach out by telephone to family, friends and neighbors and chat with them on the phone, said Colette Iseminger, Senior Center executive director in a news release.
“You don’t need to wait for someone to call you,” Iseminger said.
Seniors who don’t know anyone with whom they can visit on the phone are encouraged to call the senior center, and staff will arrange for a volunteer to call and visit for short periods of time.
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