Geneva is working toward change for senior meals

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 6:10 PM CST
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GENEVA, Ala. (WTVY) - UPDATE - SARCOA issued the following statement this morning to News4 in reference to our story on meals at the Geneva Senior Center. It reads:

“SARCOA strives for quality and excellence in all we do, because we believe our older Alabamians deserve the best. We continue to work with ADSS and GA Foods in efforts to improve the quality of the food service for the Geneva Senior Center.  We support Mayor Hayes and the City of Geneva in their efforts to improve meals for their senior center.”

SARCOA coordinates nearly 1700 meals daily to 36 senior centers spanning seven counties. They are currently in their fourth year of a five-year statewide contract with GA Foods.

ORIGINAL STORY - It’s an issue Geneva seniors have been facing for years now, and that’s the meals they are served at the Senior Citizens Center each day at lunch.

The Geneva City Council is working toward changing that. Mayor David Hayes said the city council is on board for getting better food for these seniors.

Now, this initiative is in the early stages. On Monday night the council discussed the current state of the senior food program and its issues.

“The quality of the food has not been, what I consider, up to par,” Mayor Hayes said.

And the seniors agree.

“One day is bad, and you know the next day might be a little good, but that’s it,” Gwyn Berv, senior, said.

“Sometimes the combination of food that we get really should be more in tune with the diets that are healthy for us,” Blanca Gammons, senior, said.

Mayor Hayes has tried the food for himself.

“When I got here a year ago, I was invited out for a meal immediately, and wow, it’s eye-opening,” Mayor Hayes said.

The center tells News 4 they have been struggling with this for years.

“The food looks like sometimes it’s already been eaten before we get it,” Berv said.

The center feeds 75 seniors a day Monday through Friday. And several seniors rely on this meal. 28 of them are homebound and the rest are fed in house.

“All we want is to be able to have good meals every day, not occasionally,” Robbie Owens, director of the center, said.

The center currently serves meals from SARCOA.

“I’m not saying that they haven’t tried,” Mayor Hayes said. “I believe they have tried somewhat, but it’s still not good enough. When you’re dealing with people’s lives that can’t manage for themselves and they depend on you, then I’m stepping up and we’re going to change it. We’re going to make it work for them.”

They city has voiced their concerns several times, but feels unheard.

“We have taken it every step we could to get it fixed, to remedy it, through the state, through SARCOA, through GA foods, and it’s just continued to be the same, it’s not changing,” Mayor Hayes said.

The Geneva City Council will have a workshop on the senior feeding program in early January.

News 4 has reached out to SARCOA and is waiting for a response.

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