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WNY and Southtowns Meals on Wheels organizations combine

HAMBURG — For the past 13 years, Southtowns Meals on Wheels has operated as an independent consortium in the towns of Colden, Sardinia, Holland, Boston and Concord, feeding the residents of those communities separately from the home meal program that has historically serviced the rest of Western New York.

The board of directors of the SMOW organization received county funding to help out, and each town’s coordinator made sure the meals got to the people who needed them.

As of Jan. 1, that will all change.

The County Senior Services put the program into a competitive grant basis and awarded the service to WNY Meals on Wheels.

Erie County Department of Senior Services Commissioner Randy Hoak said that the grant was awarded to the program that presented the best application and had the most resources to enact it.

He noted that the way the service is provided, and its quality of service, will not change.

“We know people count on these meals and we are working together to make sure they get what they need,” Hoak said.

In all Meals on Wheels programs, regardless of which entity supplies them, people 60 and older who cannot shop for or prepare their own food may be eligible for meals to be delivered to their homes, five days per week.

Individuals may request services by calling 858-8526, to initiate an in-home evaluation for meals, as well as any other benefits or services for which the person may be eligible. A doctor’s note specifying any dietary restrictions must be provided.

A referral for home-delivered meals may be made, after the in-home visit is completed. When service begins, volunteers will deliver two meals, around midday, Monday – Friday.

The menus are planned by registered dieticians, to provide two-thirds of the recommended daily adult nutritional requirements, according to the MOW statement of service.

A donation is requested, from those who are able to afford it.

The Springville-Concord Elder Network has stepped up to the plate and agreed to run the program for the town of Concord.

Hoak explained that the contracts were awarded based on a variety of factors, including the ability to provide service to its constituents, cost, fundraising capabilities, visibility and a number of other criteria.

In the months leading up to the change in service the Erie County Department of Senior Services will be providing more information about the switch and whether it will affect service to residents in the current Southtowns Meals on Wheels coverage area, which includes the town of Boston.

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