Letter to the editor: senior meals

 

seniorslpTo:  Inyo County Board of Supervisors

From: Mo Monroe, Asst. Cook, Lone Pine Senior Center

The rumor mill continues to churn out tidbits…here’s the latest I have heard.  The Board of Supes has pretty much decided to “continue” the meals-on-wheels program with only “minor” changes. They prefer to provide one hot meal per week to clients, instead of four, with the remaining four meals each week being frozen meals cooked and packaged locally by the Bishop and Lone Pine kitchens. The meals at the Senior Centers will still be provided five days per week, with one day per week no longer being voluntary donation, rather,  a mandatory fee for that meal.  Sounds a bit drastic to me, and here’s what I suggest in lieu of those options, realizing that the deficit of the County General Fund may not be  reduced as greatly as desired by the Board in the immediate future.

  1. Provide five meals per week instead of the seven meals currently offered. Including both the Bishop and Lone Pine meals-on-wheels routes, this is a significant reduction
  2. Deliver three hot meals per week to meals-on-wheels recipients, with recipients receiving two frozen meals for the the other two days per week when deliveries aren’t being made. This will immediately reduce costs in food packaging supplies, as the fresh fruit and juices that accompany these meals come pre-packaged.
  3. Continue Senior Center congregate meals as they currently are, voluntary donation only. These groups of people getting together socially are extremely special and should be preserved as sacrocanct!
  4. Implement County-wide bulk purchasing of foodstuffs and supplies for all county operations that supply food (and packaging thereof) to county residents (including inmates).

Speaking of gradual implementation in little-tiny-baby-steps, as I have before, why not let the ESAAA kitchens provide one meal per day to the County Jail? We are up to the task. This could be delivered hot, cold, or frozen, and consumed immediately or stored at the jail until required…

I believe that with the reduced number of meals being provided, the reduced hours of labor being paid for (less driving days), and the reduction in food and supply costs, the savings to the County General Fund will surprise you!  Euphemisms like “Service Redesign” should actually include some design work, and not just be another way of saying cutting services!

I respectfully ask you, Board of Supervisors, should our county inmates at the County Jail be entitled to three “hot” meals per day while our most vulnerable, venerable Senior Citizens are only entitled to one hot meal per week? Realllly???

 

12 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Grant
Grant
7 years ago

Another thing to consider is that a huge pay off of these programs is the social interaction the seniors get while going to get a meal. I see a lot of seniors that go 50% to eat and 50% to interact because they don’t have that in their lives or… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
7 years ago

Consider the opportunities for corruption, fraud and lobbying associated with subsidizing meals at commercial eateries. Also consider that there will inevitably be complaints that those discounts are buying luxury meals that some angry taxpayer cannot afford. Take the problems associated with food stamps, real and perceived, and extrapolate them to… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
7 years ago

Here is a question. Do seniors pay the County for these meals or not? When I set my father up with Meals on Wheels it wasn’t free. I see no reason in the world a senior who has a retirement income and/or Social Security cannot pay for their food. I… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
7 years ago

Being mobile enough to get to senior centers for meals is a whole different deal than a shutin, immobile senior. If that person is a shutin, he should get special treatment every day. The rest can meet at a restaurant unless they are really broke. Then a little help with… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
7 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Ken, not all of the Meals on Wheels customers are poor. My father had a darn good income from a city pension. His take home was higher than mine back then. He could afford to eat anything he wanted to. There was no earthly reason he needed a subsidized meal… Read more »

sugarmagnolia
sugarmagnolia
7 years ago

Yes, the ideal of seniors as poor, barely scraping by people is mostly gone. My grandparents generation worked hard but saw their retirements get completely outpaced by real estate costs and inflation. My parents generation on the other hand bought houses dirt cheap and reaped the benefits of the skyrocketing… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
7 years ago

For me, I really want to take care of myself for as long as possible. For the others who want meals served them, means testing seems reasonable to me. But if you are living below the poverty line, then discounts at the local restaurants seems like a nice thing for… Read more »

Katie
Katie
7 years ago

AMEN Baby! Anyone who thinks that the senior citizens who have helped build this community only deserve 1 hot meal a week, well the only thing I can say is SHAME ON YOU! And yes that includes the so called board of supervisors who made this proposal. If you’re not… Read more »

Elimus
Elimus
7 years ago

The attack on services because of the big equity raises and 6% raise for all county workers continues. Now the dumps are rarely open (everywhere but Bishop), the Senior Meal Program is being reduced, the Library and Museum are being cut (this after the Library took a 27% hit last… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
7 years ago

Thank you Ms. Monroe for your excellent letter and the “Mo” better ideas for this “Service Redesign” of the senior meals program. I too hope that the Supes hear your ideas loud and clear . There is a tendency for the Supes to rely on the “administrative staff” for all… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
7 years ago

Has Inyo County thought about trying to get help from the fast food places in the valley? It’s not the greatest food but it will sustain and nourish. And it has a lot of calories which if you are missing meals, can be a real blessing.

Waxlips
Waxlips
7 years ago

Mo deserves a raise, comes up with a better solution then all the county heads working on it. Hope you’re listening Board of Supervisors.