Senior Nutrition, Summer Feeding Service, and Senior Companions are all ongoing programs within the Highland County Community Action Organization, Inc. (HCCAO) that continue to benefit the community.
HCCAO is a private non-profit organization, and later this year, it will celebrate being a part of the Highland County community for 50 years.
“Helping People. Changing Lives.” are the words people see as they enter through the doors of the agency at the North High Business Center. And those words are what the agency is all about, executive director Julia Wise said previously.
HCCAO continues to help people by its ongoing services, like the Senior Nutrition Program, which incorporates not only a congregate meal site in Greenfield, but home delivery of meals, too.
Monday through Friday, meals are served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Greenfield site, located at 1230 Greenhills Dr. The meals are open to those 60 and older, and transportation is available to those in or near the village limits.
Program director Amy Faulconer said the agency serves between 15 and 22 people on a daily basis, and that those who attend are able to not only socialize, but to enjoy activities throughout the week, like bingo and Bible study.
The home-delivery meal program is also Monday through Friday, and about 120 seniors are served daily, Faulconer said.
All the meals are prepared at the Greenfield location.
Faulconer said that the delivery drivers are often “the eyes and ears” for the family of those seniors who are homebound, and that the drivers are sometimes the only person a senior might see through the day. While she said that a lot of the seniors look forward to that daily interaction with the delivery person, she said that sometimes that meal delivery also turns into a wellness check.
According to Wise, the home-delivery service has been in the county for more than 40 years, with HCCAO taking it over about 35 years ago.
The waiting list for the home-delivered meals “is massive,” Faulconer said, “but the funding isn’t there” for more seniors to be served.
“We need public support as many seniors are on the waiting list and funds are limited,” Wise said. Currently, the agency pulls $75,000 a year from other funding to maintain the home-delivery program, but it is not something the agency can continue to do, Wise said, as federal funds are also limited.
“It’s the only program that truly, truly struggles,” Wise said. But, the agency keeps it up because of the need, she said.
The Senior Companion Program is another ongoing endeavor within the agency, according to executive assistant Ruth Cutright.
The program is open to seniors 55 and older who are willing to work 40 hours a week assisting other seniors with things like shopping, light cleaning, and cooking.
The companions, who must go through an application and training process, are paid a stipend and any mileage that is incurred, she said.
The program is a way for able seniors to stay active and is open to those 55 and older and of low income, Cutright said. Anyone interested in the program can contact HCCAO at 937-393-3458.
HCCAO for the last five years has sponsored the Summer Feeding Service Program, which provides meals to students 18 years old and younger.
The program is administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state of Ohio, Cutright said. And a summer work group from Turning Point assists HCCAO in dispersing the meals in Greenfield.
“Summer Feeding ensures children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session,” Cutright said.
While Hillsboro used to have a site for the program, Cutright said not enough kids came. Greenfield is the only site this year, and she said the agency is serving an average of 90 kids daily.
Kids can also enjoy activities with the program, Cutright said. Once a month New Directions handles activities with the kids, and an OSU extension office representative comes in once a week to talk to the kids about nutrition and exercise. And, as with previous years, once a month there are Water Fun Days with the help of the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District.
The next Water Fun Day is set for July 24, Cutright said.
While there are no income guidelines to receive a meal, income guidelines must be met for a child to receive produce on Wednesday and the weekend meals on Fridays, which provides six meals to cover Saturday and Sunday.
The program runs through July 31, and meals are served at Greenfield Elementary Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
HCCAO is planning a 50th anniversary celebration for October or November with details to be provided at a later time.
For more information about the agency call 937-393-3458. Information is also available on the agency’s website at hccao.org. Highland County Community Action Organization is located in the North High Business Center at 1487 N. High St, Ste. 500.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.