MEALS ON WHEELS

The Banks County meals on wheels program is set to deliver 220 meals to senior citizens this week. 

While the coronavirus outbreak has seemingly impacted every facet of daily life, Banks County seniors can still expect a hot meal delivered to their doorstep.

The center’s meals-on-wheels program is carrying on with business as usual as it is set to deliver 220 meals to county seniors this week.

“We are still here, we are out there, we are here to serve them and we are happy to do so,” Banks County Senior Center director Tracie Hammond said. “We want to protect our senior citizens of Banks County in every way.”

Hammond said the meals-on-wheels program is not in danger of running out of food. It is state and federally-funded, as well as county-funded.

Legacy Link, a state liaison which serves Northeast Georgia, provides the meals. They are prepared in a kitchen in Habersham County and delivered to the Banks County Senior Center daily.

“They are reaching out to me every day,” Hammond said. “They are making sure that we have hot meals.”

Each senior in the program receives a dietician-approved meal that includes one meat, two vegetables, bread, fruit or dessert and milk.

Senior center employees wear gloves and do not enter the residences during deliveries. The recipients meet workers at the door.

“We’re taking all precaution as far as that goes,” Hammond said.

Asked if there are any plans to deliver hard-to-find supplies like paper products and hand sanitizer, which have been bought up in bulk by the public, Hammond said those items simply aren’t available right now.

“The thing is, I can’t get my hands on any,” she said.

Hammond also said her contact at the state level hasn’t indicated that any of those products are available to hand out.

“If I can get a box of them, we’ll drive them out to every senior that we know,” Hammond said. “But at this point, I’ve not had any to where I could even get my hands on any.”

As for the meals, Hammond said she has not seen a spike yet in demand for deliveries during the coronavirus outbreak. The seniors they’re delivering to are the ones they would deliver to normally.

But the senior center may find itself finding ways to help those seniors who had been coming into the center as a resource. The facility has been closed to the public since last week for safety reasons during the outbreak. The senior population has been among those the coronavirus seems to impact most intensely.

“Our clients that come here, we have told them if they, of course, need anything we will be happy to assist them in anyway, but many of them drive and are self-sufficient, and they really haven’t asked us for anything at this point,” Hammond said.

But she added, “that may change if this closure has to go on longer.”

Hammond noted that two churches have reached out during this health crisis, offering assistance for any senior needing someone to go to grocery store for them.

“The outpouring of people reaching out has been wonderful,” Hammond said.

Overall, Hammond said the senior center is taking the coronavirus crisis very seriously, “but we’re not going into panic mode.”

“We love our seniors,” she said. “We have seniors in this community that need our services, so we are here for them, and we want to deliver them meals or help them in any way that we can, all while still protecting them and ourselves.”

Seniors interested in the meals on wheels program can contact Legacy Link Inc. of Northeast Georgia at 770-538-2650 or 1-800-845-5465.

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