Modern senior couple spending time in the kitchen

Garfield County supports senior meals program

December 7, 2021

Garfield County has agreed to help fund home-delivered meals to seniors in the Carbondale area. The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved a one-time supplemental grant for $40,000 to the nonprofit Valley Meals and More to ensure home-delivered meals can continue to reach seniors who need them.

The county is performing a needs assessment to help determine how robust a meal program needs to be in place to serve local seniors. Garfield County Department of Human Services (DHS) currently provides congregate meals for seniors, but a gap in service for home-delivered meals exists on the eastern end of the county.

“The board may want to consider some level of funding to continue the home-delivered program in the eastern side of the county until a long-term solution can be reached,” said Garfield County DHS Director Sharon Longhurst-Pritt to the commissioners.

She added that the county’s senior programs cannot take on the added duty of providing home-delivered meals. Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said the program is needed and important and noted that there is funding through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) that can help cover some of the costs for the delivered meals.

“As a county and through the department of human services, we have a safety net that we put out there,” Jankovsky said. “However, some seniors are not leaving their homes because of the COVID pandemic and they have reason to, as they are in the vulnerable population.”

Kati Ledall, Meals on Wheels and volunteer coordinator for Valley View Hospital, said that her organization would be continuing its home-delivered meal program for the time being.

“Valley View Hospital is not discontinuing its meals on Jan. 1,” she told the board. “We do not believe in letting people go hungry, but there is a greater need to develop a nonprofit organization, such as Valley Meals and More, with a sponsorship from Valley View, but we cannot continue to be the sole organization providing these meals in Glenwood Springs. We have a greater mission to support our patients.”

The grant, which comes from the county’s general fund, was approved unanimously, 3-0.

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