“Older Americans Month” is observed throughout May, and to join the celebration, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich this week assisted Montgomery County Recreation (MCR) with the senior meal delivery program. Throughout the COVID-19 health crisis, the program has delivered more than 183,000 meals to seniors who needed home meals because they were unable to shop or cook for themselves.
Since March 16, 2020, when the County initiated COVID-19 safety shutdown protocols, the program has been delivering meal boxes containing trays with individually packed milk, fruit, fruit juice, bread and butter. Each box contains enough to provide for seven meals. Initially, the senior meal program provided meals to seniors who had received in-person meals through the MCR Senior Centers and 55+ locations. It grew to become a meal-delivery service available for any qualified senior who requested meals.
Seniors have been hit hard by the COVID-19 emergency,” said County Executive Elrich. “I am pleased that the County has been able to provide services to deliver food to those in need. The Recreation Department's senior meal service has helped tremendously with the efforts to ensure that seniors unable to leave their homes have access to food delivery or meal pickup.”
Many of the seniors not only faced food insecurity, but also experienced isolation and loneliness. The weekly meal delivery reminder call became a socialization activity for the seniors to connect with someone and talk about how things were going in their life.
“I am extremely proud of everyone in the Recreation Department for their exceptional service during this crisis,” said MCR Director Robin Riley. “Transitioning from an in-person meal provider to a home delivery service required a complex mapping and coordination process. It was not easy, but it was necessary and made it possible to get tens of thousands of meals to residents. The Senior Meal Delivery Program is another example of how the recreation department has been open and available throughout the emergency.”
MCR partners with Montgomery County’s Health and Human Services (HHS), Jewish Council for the Aging Of Greater Washington Inc. (JCA) and Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, Inc. (MOW) to provide the senior meals. MOW provides the meal boxes through HHS’ senior nutrition program, JCA buses are used to transport meals to participants.
For more information about MCR senior programs, call 240-777-4925.