Four congregate sites to open in June

Some MEOC Senior Community Sites will open with restrictions on June 7 after being closed for more than a year because of the pandemic.

One site each in Lee, Scott and Wise counties and the City of Norton will open once a week during June. Locations will include:

  • Wise County – Trinity United Methodist Church, 203 E 1st St S, Big Stone Gap.
  • Lee County – Pennington Gap First United Methodist Church, 41880 E Morgan Ave, Pennington Gap.
  • Scott County – Hiltons Memorial United Methodist Church, 2869 Hilton Rd, Gate City.
  • City of Norton – Norton Community Center, 201 Park Avenue NE, Norton.

The aim is for all locations to open in July.

June site meetings will be limited to 10 people, and no open food or drinks will be allowed. However, congregate site participants will continue receiving home-delivered frozen meals until regular services resume.

Though meals will not be served, the meetings will provide program participants much-needed socialization many older adults have missed during the pandemic, said MEOC Nutrition Services Director Carrie Stallard. “Our nutrition program offers more than just a meal. We focus on helping our seniors stay physically and mentally active as well as keeping them connected and engaged in the community,” said Stallard.

Prior to the pandemic, MEOC’s senior sites were open at eight locations throughout the agency’s service area, providing a healthy meal in a group setting to adults at least age 60. The program provides a range of services including nutrition assessments, nutrition and food safety education, and nutritional counseling.

Sites closed in late March 2020, however, when the pandemic hit. MEOC began providing emergency meals service to homebound seniors in addition to clients already being served by the agency’s home-delivered meals program.

From April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, MEOC provided a total of 145,825 meals to 1,032 older persons. That includes 55,524 meals to 507 individuals receiving emergency service and 90,301 to 583 clients enrolled in the normal program.

Staff also kept in touch with participants through weekly phone calls and text messages. From April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, 9,035 well checks were made on 212 individuals.

To learn more about MEOC’s congregate meals program, contact Stallard at (276) 523-4202 or carrie.stallard@meoc.org.

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