CAA/Menominee Senior Center has been one of the essential businesses in our community since the COVID-19 crisis began. Seniors who were puzzled over this pandemic looked to us for help to keep access to food. We continue to follow all the recommendations and guidelines set forth from the State of Michigan and the local Health Department to provide food for our elderly in the community.

Seniors who normally congregate at the center can opt for no contact, carry-out provided they call in advance to reserve a meal. Seniors knock on our front door, and a masked staff member assembles the components of their meal, places it in a brand new plastic bag. The staff member then opens the door and sets it on a table just outside of the door, and then closes the door behind them. The senior then retrieves the bagged meal from the table and returns to their vehicle.

We now have no contact delivery for our home-delivered meal clients. The masked drivers knock or ring their doorbell to let them know their meals have arrived. The driver then hangs their bagged meals on their outside doorknob and backs away from the client’s home. If they do not have a doorknob adequate to hang a bag, clients will arrange that a small table or chair be left close to their door for the driver to place their delivery on until the client can come out and retrieve the meal. The drivers return to their vehicle and wait to see that the client retrieves the meals before they drive away to ensure the client gets back safely into their home. We also have a staff member calling to make safety checks on clients to ensure their needs are being met, and contacting their emergency contacts when possible to assist. Our senior housing units have safety measures in place to assist us with the delivery of meals in those buildings so that we do not have to access each apartment. We appreciate everyone piecing together their support to ensure the welfare of our seniors is still paramount.

Our monthly and quarterly commodity food distributions have also seen some changes. We are working to ensure those programs still continue with safety in mind. So, while our center may not provide an entire day’s worth of meals, our variety of food programs may offer another piece to their support system puzzle.

If you or a senior you know in the Menominee area is interested in any of these food services, please contact us 906-863-2158. We will continue to do what we can at our center to provide senior nutrition, education and socialization — whatever that looks like now and into the future.

Renelle Betters is the director of CAA/Menominee Senior Center.