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Senior Meals Program Changes
San Joaquin County Aging and Community Services Administrator Wendy Moore said the Seniors First, which is also known as the Senior Service Agency, notified the county earlier this month that they were discontinuing the program as of Friday, June 13. That gave the county just a few days notice to get a back up plan in place, but Moore said luckily, they were able to contract on an interim basis with a program providing meals to Sacramento County seniors.

The biggest change - aside from having a new menu and a new food provider - is that the meals will now arrive frozen and will have to be warmed up prior to eating. Local coordinator Jan Shelton, who oversees the Escalon site on Thursdays, said the church has the facilities for heating the meals, which are fully cooked, then frozen. The Meals on Wheels delivery drivers will also take frozen meals to shut-ins and the elderly on their route. Those receiving the meals will have to heat them as well, where before they came hot and ready to eat.

But warming them up is a small price to pay, considering there was concern that the meals would stop altogether with Seniors First bowing out of the program. Their contract with the county was supposed to be in effect through June 30, 2009.

"We've arranged for the preparation and delivery of frozen meals because our first priority is to make sure people have food," Moore said. "All the congregate sites understand the situation."

News was sent out to those congregate sites all around the county on Wednesday about the loss of meals through Seniors First and concern mingled with uncertainty at the local meal site on Thursday.

"I don't worry about myself," lunch program participant Mary Herrero stressed, noting that she was more concerned about shut-ins still getting a nutritious meal on a daily basis.