(as published in the Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019)
By Skye Kinkade
Things will remain exactly the same for the seniors who receive lunch through the Mount Shasta Senior Nutrition Program, although the players behind the scenes will soon change.
On July 1, Great Northern Services, which has extensive experience with food programs, will take over administration and management of the program, which includes “congregate” lunch at the Mount Shasta City Park three days a week, homebound deliveries and transportation services.
Mount Shasta Recreation and Parks District has sponsored the program for more than 30 years, but Administrator Mike Rodriguez said the transition is “a succession plan” to ensure the program continues long into the future.
“We are not going anywhere, and the Upper Lodge will remain the home of the program,” Rodriguez said. “I am encouraged that Great Northern Services has taken on this new venture and the District looks forward to continuing to work with them to bring nutrition services to our seniors.”
GNS Community Services Director Heather Solus said the program is “a great opportunity for seniors to not only get a nutritious, affordable meal, but also to stay active and connected with others in the community.”
“We greatly appreciate our partnership with the Mount Shasta Recreation and Parks District and our wonderful volunteers who will be helping in this continued effort,” Solus added.
Rodriguez said approximately 25 seniors eat at the Mount Shasta City Park’s Upper Lodge three days a week. About 40 seniors take advantage of lunch delivery and two or three seniors are transported to the park to enjoy lunch with their peers.
On Wednesdays, a handful of lunches are served at the Dunsmuir Community Building, Rodriguez added.
While the services and staff will remain the same, GNS’s Executive Director Marie-Josée Wells explained that the name of the program will transition to “Siskiyou Senior Nutrition” and the places at which participants gather will now be referred to as “Community Café” at Mount Shasta City Park or the Dunsmuir Community Building.
“People don’t often associate malnutrition and food insecurity with older adults, but there are a number of issues that seniors face – chronic conditions, limited income, living alone and medication side effects – which can put them at a higher risk for malnutrition,” Wells said. “As an organization dedicated to providing help to families and individuals with limited means, we are proud to be part of a support system that ensures the nutritional needs of older adults are met, and that the meals are accessible despite physical or financial circumstance.”
Seniors who wish to take advantage of the program must fill out an intake form once a year. After that, they should just show up to eat. Sign in starts at 11:45 a.m. and lunch is served at noon, Rodriguez said.
For more information about the program, which is funded through a grant from the California Department of Aging and Planning and Service Area 2, Area Agency on Aging, call (530) 926-4611.