“How do you tell a senior citizen that they don’t get to eat? You cannot do that,” said Brenda Johnson, Treasurer of the Kamiah Senior Center Board and acting kitchen manager. “We cannot do that, and I won’t do that. We find a way to get the meals to the people who need them.”
Innovia provided a grant to the Kamiah Senior Citizens Society to address this prevalent issue and serve nutritious meals to the people who need them most. The organization refuses to allow the seniors in their community to suffer from food insecurity or inaccessibility. Their Valley Senior Meal Site provides meals three days a week, simultaneously acting as a place for seniors to meet, socialize and share a meal as they cultivate a sense of community.
“We do focus on seniors, but for congregate meals, anyone who comes in can eat,” Johnson continued. “We are not going to turn anyone away that needs a meal.”
For the first time since before the pandemic, the Valley Senior Meal Site has reestablished social activities in addition to the meal offerings, providing music and games to those who attend the congregate meals. “We’re getting back to where it’s also a social place for the seniors,” Johnson said.
Delivery drivers, all of them volunteers, bring meal services to the organization’s homebound clients, making 60 to 70 deliveries three times a week to provide up to a full week’s worth of meals. At these visits, drivers not only deliver food, but also check-in on the wellbeing of each community member.
“It’s also a wellness check,” Johnson explained, describing delivery visits, especially for those experiencing dementia. These clients require a greater level of attentiveness, which is why the volunteer drivers dedicate time for face-to-face interaction, knowing that those who are homebound look forward to each visit and may need extra help and care.
The dedicated team at Kamiah Senior Center prides itself on not only providing nourishment to members of their community, but also comfort to those who need connection and compassion.