Meals on Wheels program getting financial help
BAKERSVILLE – The Mitchell County Meals on Wheels program is getting some financial help.
The Mitchell County Board of Commissioners at its regular meeting Monday, Oct. 8, heard a report from Mitchell County Senior Center Director Kathy Garland about the program and unanimously approved a decision to allow Garland to begin shopping for new commercial freezers.
Also, the program received a $9,900 check this past month from Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The money is part of Blue Cross’ multi-million dollar aid program for food institutions in North Carolina.
The money will be used to expand Meals on Wheels coverage to 22 people currently on the waiting list in the Buladean area.
Mitchell County Meals on Wheels has 89 clients and serves more than 18,000 meals every year. The program has five Spruce Pine routes, a Ledger route, a Bakersville route and routes in Buladean and Glen Ayre.
The Buladean route, which was started about a year ago, serves 14 people, but the 22-person wait list represents a high, unfulfilled need for the program, Garland said.
Garland said the Blue Cross money should be sufficient for supplying the food and labor necessary to reach the people on the waiting list in Buladean.
During her report, Garland also expressed concern over the equipment at the senior center. The freezers, she said, were purchased preowned more than 25 years ago and are beginning to show their age.
In the past month, repairmen came out four times to service the large, commercial freezers keep the Meals on Wheels food fresh.
Garland asked the board if the Blue Cross money could be used for new freezers, which she estimates will cost about $5,000 each.
Commissioner Jacob Willis said the people on the Buladean waiting list should take priority over new freezers and fellow commissioner Danny Burleson agreed, suggesting the county could cover the cost of the freezers and allow the Blue Cross money to go to the Buladean route.
“Let’s find a way to get her a freezer now,” Burleson said.
The board unanimously agreed with Burleson’s motion and moved to allow Garland to begin looking into and completing the purchase of new freezers on the county’s dime.
Board Chair Matthew “Vern” Grindstaff praised the Meals on Wheels program and the Senior Center before moving on to the next agenda item.
“We’re blessed in this county with a great senior center,” Grindstaff said. “The employees are wonderful and they have a great director.”