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Senior nutrition program offers more than just food

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Leann Monk, Tyler County Treasurer, speaks to the Rotary Club of Woodville at last Wednesday’s noon meeting. MOLLIE LASALLE | TCBLeann Monk, Tyler County Treasurer, speaks to the Rotary Club of Woodville at last Wednesday’s noon meeting. MOLLIE LASALLE | TCB

By Mollie LaSalle

WOODVILLE – County Treasurer Leann Monk brought the program at the noon meeting of the Rotary club last Wednesday and presented an overview of the Senior Nutrition Program.

When this program began in January, they were feeding about 10-15 people a day. The numbers have steadily increased to a total of about 47 today.

Monk stressed that, “Joe Blacksher, (Pct. 1 Commissioner) is the reason the nutrition center is functioning, and he continues to work with DETCOG to make sure we have the funding to keep the program going.”

In the beginning, Tyler County Hospital provided the meals. Blacksher said “we couldn’t have gotten off the ground if it hadn’t been for the hospital”. Now, the center has their own cooks who prepare the food on-site. Monk added that, “pre-pandemic, East Texas Support Services provided the meals at the center, we (the county) just owned the building.” After the pandemic was over, people were “homesick” for what they had before and began asking when the service would be started back up.”

Monk explained, “this program costs nothing to the taxpayers, DETCOG funds a large majority of this program, and we (the county) gets re-imbursed’. There is a suggested donation of three dollars for a meal, but if you simply cannot afford to pay, you will not be turned away. It is geared for seniors ages 60 and up, and you must dine in at the center, you cannot take it to go. On bingo day, the center has the largest crowd, more than any of the other activities offered. Monk added, “we ran a survey to see how well our seniors were liking the program, and for the most part, everyone liked it: one person commented that they didn’t want any “healthy food”.

Meals are served Monday through Friday at 11:30. The center has fun activities including the weekly Bingo, daily dominoes, weekly exercise program, educational speakers, and of course, the delicious home cooked meals. And if they run out of food, they have a back-up plan; no one goes without.

“We are building this program and trying to sustain it. If there’s anything you think we can improve on, anything you think we can offer, we would welcome your input”, Monk said. Most of the people that utilize this service are local around Woodville, but they are looking into ways to get seniors from the north and south ends of the county to come to the center.

The Nutrition Center is located at 102 Veterans Way, and along with the meal program, they offer fellowship, interaction, and purpose for the senior community. For more information on this program, you can call Blacksher at 409-283-7013 or 409-790-4149.

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