Rensselaer County recognized an important milestone in services for county seniors, with delivery of the county’s seven millionth meal to a senior during a ceremony today, County Executive Steve McLaughlin and members of the County Legislature announced.
The seven millionth meal was served at the county’s Edward C. Swartz Senior Center in Schodack, with McLaughlin, legislators and county staff on hand for the event.
“Rensselaer County truly values and appreciates our seniors, and providing seven million meals for seniors is a clear demonstration of that commitment,” said McLaughlin.
The seven millionth meal was presented to Florence Clifford, a 98-year-old resident, by Councilman Scott Swartz, with McLaughlin and New York State Office for the Aging Deputy Director John Cochran. The center is dedicated to Swartz’s father.
The seven million meals include meals served through the home-delivered meals program and in congregate settings at the five senior centers by the county over the past half century. The county began tallying meals in January, 1975.
Funding for the meals comes from the county budget, along with state and federal funding sources.
“For nearly 50 years, our county has provided nutritious and convenient meals for our seniors at our senior centers or in their homes. These meals are a crucial connection between our seniors and the county and our communities and a connection we are proud to maintain today,” said McLaughlin.
“We thank everyone, past and present, who have worked to provide meals and nutrition to our seniors, either at the homes of seniors or in one of our senior centers. This is a tremendous accomplishment and continuation of a legacy of caring and support for our seniors and their families,” said Commissioner for the Aging Carol Rosbozom.
The celebration of the seven million meals comes just over two years after the county recognized another important milestone in senior services. In February 2020, just before the pandemic, the county recognized the four millionth meal delivered as part of the county’s home-delivered meals program with a ceremony at a Rensselaer senior’s home. The four million meals provided through the county’s home-delivered meals program are included in the seven million meals figure.
“Our County’s senior centers offer many important programs for our seniors, and providing healthy nutritious meals is just one of them. Some of the best moments of my day are when I am able to deliver meals to our homebound seniors and seeing the joy on their faces”, said Vice Chair Bob Loveridge, who is also a volunteer in the meal delivery program.
“We really saw the importance of these home delivered meals during the pandemic when our older citizens opted to stay home for health reasons, but were able to have meals from our program delivered to them. The home deliveries also allowed our drivers and volunteers to have regular contact with our residents to make sure they were well”, added Legislator Tom Grant- East Greenbush- Chair of the Legislature’s Social Services Committee.
“As the Chair of the Legislature’s Aging committee, I am thrilled to see this major milestone and to continue our County’s commitment to the health and well-being of our seniors”, said Legislator Tom Choquette- Averill Park.