COLUMBUS (WCMH) — On a normal weekday, 50 or more senior citizens gather at the Hilliard Senior Center for lunch and various social activities. As a result of the global pandemic, the building is now closed and all activities are cancelled.
But meals are still being prepared every day and served to the city’s elderly via drive-thru.
Recreation department supervisor David Judson says for many of the seniors, it’s the only hot meal they’ll get.
“It still gets them out of the house, gets them talking to somebody and they really appreciate it,” Judson said.
On Thursday, City of Hilliard employees loaded 70 hot meals into the cars of seniors who pulled up in their vehicles outside the front door of the Senior Center.
Nancy Temple lives alone and says the meal and the brief interaction with the staff mean a lot.
“When my husband passed I would cook but I didn’t feel like eating it,” Temple said. “But coming here, they give you encouragement, they give you friendship and now they’re feeding us during a time of crisis, you can’t beat that. This is priceless.”
JoAnne Gilbert picked up three meals, one for herself, and two for her neighbors at an independent living center.
“I just listen to the news all the time and its frightening,” Gilbert said. “You’re not supposed to congregate too much even within our apartment complex. In fact, they’ve cancelled bingo and cancelled our Saturday morning coffee and donuts and we just miss the togetherness.”
Judson said while handing out meals, staff members are also checking with the seniors on any other needs they might have.
“I think as this drags on…the mental health issue is going to start coming up,” Judson said.
But many of the seniors have seen tough times before.
“I grew up during the depression,” Temple said. “We survived everything from then up to now. Keep positive.”