As the local, Verde Valley communities unite to ride the tide of the Corona Virus pandemic, local non-profits that provide support to the most at-risk, vulnerable citizens among us—the home-bound elderly—are staying focused on continuing the crucial meal deliveries and other vital services.
Many Meals on Wheels recipients depend greatly on the Monday through Friday home-delivered hot, full meal service for good nutrition and daily sustenance. The last survey showed that 93% of local meal recipients responded that they receive no other assistance from additional food services. That means the Community Center’s home-delivered meals are the only food support they receive outside of their own resources.
A 2018 report from www.armericashealthrankings.org states that in Arizona, “In the past five years, food insecurity increased from 12.3% to 18.9% of adults ages 60+.” This is considerably higher than the U.S. average of 14%.
Even under normal circumstances, food insecure Seniors face daily difficult choices like skipping meals, choosing between food and medicine, postponing medical care, and failing health due to poor nutrition. Another troubling statistic that people just aren’t aware of is that Yavapai County has the highest suicide rate in Arizona and the majority of people committing suicide in Arizona are 65 years old or older.
Especially during this time of uncertainty, the Sedona Community Center is committed to reducing the food insecurity and isolation facing our older neighbors and friends. The Center’s Vital Food Services follow the nutritional guidelines of the Older American Act and are designed specifically for individuals ages 60+. Residents in that age group, or adults of any age who have a disability, illness, or injury are encouraged to contact the Center for assistance. Older area residents who are sheltering in place to prevent exposure to the Covid-19 virus are encouraged to call.
Things for you to know about the Sedona Community Center’s Vital Food Program:
- At this time, Home Delivery and Pick Up / To Go meals are available Monday through Friday.
- Home delivered meals are pre-scheduled with the Meals on Wheels Coordinator.
- Pick Up / To Go meals must be reserved 24 hours in advance.
- Residents who are able, are encouraged to contribute towards meal cost.
- Suggested contribution is $5 – $7 per meal. All contributions are appreciated.
- Menus are posted on the website at sccsedona.org/meal-programs.
- Meals include salad, entrée, vegetable, starch, and dessert. Milk is available, if desired.
- No special orders for meals are possible.
- An additional service to qualified recipients includes a weekly bag of groceries for the weekends and breakfast when meal delivery is not possible.
- Residents may ask to be put on the TeleCare callers ‘Wellness Call’ list to receive a friendly, wellness-check from a volunteer each day. Residents do not need to be receiving meal service to be on the TeleCare list.
- At this time through the generosity of the Sedona Salvation Army, hygiene items are also available upon request for meal recipients.
During this unusual time, the Community Center is asking for the public’s assistance by;
- Limiting your phone calls and correspondence with the Center’s staff to pertinent information only.
- Your understanding that the critical staff and volunteers who are preparing and delivering the meals need to have their health protected by minimizing their contact with others as much as possible.
- Filling out Volunteer Applications at sccsedona.org if you would like to be put on an on-call list should additional help be needed.
- Remembering that the Center is a qualifying Arizona Tax Credit organization. You can find out more at SedonaSeniorTaxCredit.org.
- More now than ever, contributions are so needed and much appreciated.
We are thankful for the outpouring of offers for assistance that we have had and grateful for the Meals on Wheels volunteers and staff who continue to serve the community despite the uncertainty. Director of Operations, Brenda Leza, who has worked for the Center for nearly 20 years sums it up, “It’s nothing like we’ve seen in the past and it’s heartening that our citizens are still willing to help out their neighbors.” More information is available at www.sccsedona.org or call 928.282.2834.