Ocean County Press Release
TOMS RIVER – The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders has made certain the county's extensive senior nutrition program will be in place for the New Year following the approval of new contracts during the Board's Dec. 18 meeting.
"This program which includes meals at our senior nutrition sites and home delivered meals to our homebound seniors serves as a lifeline to thousands of seniors living in Ocean County," said Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as chairman of the Office of Senior Services. "This service is key to our seniors maintaining independence and helps provide assurances to family members that their loved ones are being cared for."
The contracts approved Dec. 18 provide for almost 240,000 meals while a separate contract expected to go before the Board in January will provide about 60,000 meals to seniors.
"Close to 1,100 meals are currently prepared daily and distributed to homebound seniors as well as the eight congregate meal sites located throughout our County," Vicari said. "We operate one of the largest senior nutrition programs in the state and with the support of the Board of Freeholders the award of these contracts assures the continuance of this program into 2020."
He added that there is no wait list in Ocean County for this program.
"No senior in Ocean County goes hungry," he said.
The Board of Freeholders awarded contracts to Community Services Inc., the major meal provider in Ocean County. The cost of the 2020 congregate meal contract is $782,173, and for home delivered/ weekend/ holiday meals it is $1,793,626. Over 237,725 total meals are projected for delivery in 2020.
As of the end of November, there was a total of 230,741 meals prepared thus far for 2019. Home delivered meals accounted for 203,509 meals delivered to the homebound and 27,232 to congregate sites.
Meals are currently prepared at the Community Services Inc. kitchen at the Ocean County Southern Service Center, Route 9, in Manahawkin.
"For years, the senior nutrition program serves as a lifeline for many of our elderly residents living alone. It helps them maintain their independence and the volunteers and drivers help provide a daily wellness check for many seniors that can no longer get around on their own," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Virginia E. Haines. "Nutrition support is a key ingredient to good health for older adults."
Vicari noted that socialization, recreation, educational programs and health screenings are offered at the senior nutrition sites throughout the County.
"These programs provide great benefits for our seniors, especially those who are frail and in need," Vicari said. "It is less expensive to provide food for one-year for a senior then it is to cover the cost of a day in an emergency room."
In addition to the nutrition contracts, Community Services Inc. was awarded contracts to provide over 27,560 units for support services such as community outreach, benefits counseling, transportation, and general information and assistance at a cost of $448,749.
They will also conduct Chronic Disease Self-Management workshops for 200 individuals specifically targeting those with diabetes at a cost of $46,248 in 2020.
"Ocean County is home to more than 170,000 adults 60 and over," Vicari said. "And, more than 10,000 baby boomers daily are turning 65. It is important to meet the needs of the frail and the homebound. This continues to be a priority for the freeholders."