Madison County is partnering with senior service agencies and local restaurants to deliver a special dinner to senior citizens and people with disabilities who are shut in this holiday season.
Madison County Community Development is working with Senior Services Plus in Alton, Main Street Community Center in Edwardsville and Highland Meals on Wheels to provide funding for the holiday delivery event. The meals will be prepared by 10 locally owned restaurants.
“This event not only provides a special meal to the most vulnerable population in our county, but also supports small businesses,” County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler said.
Community Development Administrator Trudy Bodenbach said her department will cover the cost using Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus funds. She said the county received the funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus.
“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the elderly and disabled populations need the Meals on Wheels program now more than ever,” Bodenbach said. “We are proud to partner with these organizations not only to provide a special meal for those who are shut in this holiday season, but also use this as an opportunity to help local restaurants that are struggling because of the state's mitigation, which has temporarily shut down inside dining.”
Senior Services Plus plans to deliver 800 holiday meals. This agency will be getting dinner from El Mezcal, Geno's 140 Club and Laux Brickhouse Grille in Bethalto, and Good Knight Cupcakes and Cookies in Wood River will provide dessert.
“These restaurants were chosen because they made the difficult decision to shutter their business,” Senior Services Plus CEO Theresa Collins said.
The Edwardsville Main Street Community Center, which serves Edwardsville and Glen Carbon, is working with Mother’s Catering and Sugarfire Smokehouse.
“The Main Street Community Center provides meals to its program participants five days a week,” Director of the Main Street Community Center Sara Berkbigler said. “This allows volunteers to check in on program participants, making sure that they are safe.”
Berkbigler said residents are often waiting at the door to greet their meal delivery people because that is often their only contact with the outside world. Berkbigler said the meal delivery may be the only food seniors get that day, so often they ration their meal to make it last the entire day.
Highland Meals on Wheels will deliver 65 holiday meals to Highland area residents. Meals will come from Urban Farmhouse, Blue Springs and Highland Diner for their holiday dinners and Patty Cakes for the dessert.
“We are proud to help support our local restaurants who are struggling,” Highland Meals on Wheels Director Mary Rottman said.
Bodenbach said the pandemic has increased the need for services.
“If you need help and are not sure what services are available for you or your family, please feel free to reach out to the Madison County Referral Line at (618) 296-5300 to begin the referral process and help you find assistance,” Bodenbach said.