CONTACT: Wayne Avery, 908-527-4742
Sebastian D’Elia, 527-4419
Federal Stimulus Funds Expand Meal Programs for Seniors in Union County
The Union County Department of Human Services, Division on Aging has received $211,589 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. Union County will use its share of stimulus dollars to expand the county’s Meals-on-Wheels home delivered meal program and the congregate, or group, meals program at senior centers and housing complexes throughout the county.
The Federal stimulus dollars will mean an additional 48,000 meals will be served to approximately 800 senior adults in Union County. The meals are provided to seniors age 60 and older through a federal formula based on state and county demographics.
“We are excited and grateful to receive these federal dollars in order to help more seniors during these hard economic times,” said Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “For many of our elderly, a meal at a senior center may be their main meal of the day. A meal delivered directly to the home of a frail, homebound older person may be that person’s only human contact for the day.”
In early June each municipality in Union County received a letter explaining that the ARRA funds could be used to eliminate waiting lists, expand existing nutrition programs or serve new clients. Eleven (11) of Union County’s 21 municipalities identified needs including 108 new senior clients who will receive home delivered meals, and 690 new senior clients who will receive meals at senior centers or housing complexes. The ARRA stimulus funding will allow Union County to provide meals at senior housing and center locations that previously did not offer this service. In addition, some nutrition sites that served meals two (2) days per week will be able to serve meals three (3) days per week, and, at one location, the county will be able to provide meals for weekends.
“Using the ARRA stimulus money, Union County’s Department of Human Services, Division on Aging, will operate this expansion of its nutrition programs through the end of 2009,” Freeholder Mirabella noted.
In 2008, the county’s Division on Aging delivered 403,818 meals, 233,746 home delivered meals and 170,072 congregate meals.
To date, in 2009, the county has delivered 92,842 meals to homebound seniors and 67,764 meals have been served at congregate sites, for a total of 160,606 meals.
The Union County Division on Aging is one of 670 “Area Agencies on Aging” nationwide established under the federal Older Americans Act. Individuals age 60 and older, and their families, can receive information and referral services for healthcare; nutrition; financial; legal; homemaker; housing; transportation; employment; caregiver needs; and, recreational needs.
County staff includes bi-lingual members for Spanish speaking seniors and others for whom English is not their first language.
For information about senior nutrition programs or any other senior services, call the Union County Division on Aging toll-free at 1-888-280-8226, or visit the Union County website at www.ucnj.org.