O’Neill Senior Center to provide groceries to seniors through at least mid-July

The City of Alexandria will provide free to-go lunches for local youth throughout the month of July.
The City of Alexandria will provide free to-go lunches for local youth throughout the month of July.(KALB)
Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 2:45 PM EDT
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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - The Marietta Community Foundation (MCF), the United Way Alliance, and Settlers Bank have provided funding to the O’Neill Senior Center to allow them to provide regular grocery deliveries to area seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will last through mid-July, unless additional funding is secured, in which case it could potentially continue on for a longer period of time.

Grocery boxes valued at $25 are delivered to seniors every other week. Each delivery contains milk, bread, and eggs, and alternating deliveries include items like tuna and crackers, pasta and sauce, cereal, oatmeal, pudding, and other items.

“[The deliveries] help people to remain home as much as possible, so they don’t have to go out for those essentials,” said Connie Huntsman, executive director of the O’Neill Center.

In addition, Huntsman noted that, as the pandemic has continued and grocery prices have risen in many cases, the delivery boxes have been a financial support to seniors, as well.

Because seniors are considered to be an at-risk group during the pandemic, many have been continuing to quarantine and have had fewer opportunities to socialize and regularly connect with others. Huntsman  explained that the grocery deliveries may provide some degree of social connection.

“[The seniors] are very appreciative and they understand what this means more than anybody...It’s really important to help them as much as we can, especially at a time when we still have to stay closed, so we’re not having contact with seniors on a regular basis unless we reach out to them. So this is a way for seniors to have someone to visit, if only to their porch or door to drop their items off because we’re maintaining social distance. But it’s still a way for them to have some human interaction,” Huntsman said.

MCF has been pleased with the success of the program, as well. Mason Beuhring, communications and program services director at MCF, explained that support for the program has been provided by members of the community, as well, including an anonymous donor who contributed 400 pounds of meat, and continues to donate to the program.

The O’Neill Center has been offering seniors a variety of services during the pandemic, Huntsman said. Earlier in the pandemic, the center partnered with Jo Momma’s Kitchen and Jeremiah’s Coffee House to provide meals to local seniors. It is providing medical transportation, homemaker services, and remote social services, as well. And finally, it is sending regular emails to seniors, as well as updates via social media, that include recipes, exercises that are safe to do at home, menus, crossword puzzles, and other information that is useful to seniors as the pandemic continues. And the center will be offering evidence-based online classes to support those struggling with chronic pain. 

Those who would like more information are asked to visit the center’s website or Facebook page or call (740) 373-3914 between 8 A.M. and 4 P.M. on weekdays.

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