Senior Age Centers Offer Food Pickup to Avoid Large Crowds During COVID-19 Outbreak

Mar 16, 2020

The SeniorAge centers in the Ozarks have closed to the public, but still offer food to older adults.
Credit SeniorAge AAA

The coronavirus outbreak is especially dangerous for senior citizens and those with weakened immune systems. One option for when senior citizens run low on food is to turn to senior centers.

Many older people and those with health conditions such as heart and lung disease and diabetes are staying home rather than risking exposure to the coronavirus. If they run out of food, they have some options. For one thing, they can use food delivery and pickup, offered by many local grocery stores. The nonprofit Senior Age Center also offers that service for anyone 60 and older. Thirty-six centers operate in 17 counties in Southwest Missouri and offer many services, including providing meals.

Mark Applegate leads disaster preparedness training for the Area Agency on Aging, which operates the centers. He told KSMU the senior centers have been closed to the public because of the pandemic. But he said those who would like to have food delivered can call any of the centers.

“If they’re 60 years old and older, they can arrange either a home-delivered meal or a drive-up pickup meal,” he said.

Because the dining halls at the centers are closed, Applegate said they can only prepare frozen meals right now. But he said they have plenty of food on hand.

“You know, I hate to give a false sense of security, and say ‘Oh yeah, it’s going to be fine next week,’ or whatever, but I really feel strongly that we have our people covered for a good amount of time for sure, without any big concerns,” Applegate said.

Local senior center information is available at senioragemo.org. The Area Agency on Aging also created an alert program for updates on food locations and wellness checks. You can sign up by calling SeniorAge headquarters at 417-862-0762.

And Greene County Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon said Monday the community can step up and help by checking on neighbors who are in the coronavirus high risk group. He suggested offering to go to the store for them if they need anything.