Dear Home Delivered Meals and Congregate Meal participant,
I am so gratified to be writing to you to introduce our new Senior Nutrition Program Meals on Wheels and Friendship Site vendor, Gateway Community Industries. Gateway has been operating as a non-profit human services agency in Ulster County for 58 years with a terrific reputation for the delivery of high quality services. We are so happy to have our largest contract be returned to local operation.
Helen Edelstein is the Vice President of Therapeutic and Vocational Services at Gateway and she is the lead for Gateway in this important work. Linda Hallas will supervise the Home Contact staff (who were called delivery persons) and Vicki Gore will supervise the Friendship Site Managers at the dining meal sites.
For those of you in the Meals on Wheels Program prior to January of this year, you know that there used to be a daily, hot meal option. The current vendor discontinued this in January. When this occurred County Executive Michael Hein immediately set us on a path to the return of the daily, hot option. His leadership and support has resulted in a new contract with a local vendor who understands that although the food is very important, the home contact with seniors by the Gateway staff and volunteers can be even more important.
The County Executive has advocated and received legislative approval for an enhanced “Meals on Wheels Plus” program which will provide regular, face-to-face, home support services and advocacy to our most vulnerable and isolated Meals on Wheels participants. The mission of the Ulster County Office for the Aging is to ensure that our older residents receive the support and services they need in order to remain independent and at home as long as possible. The new Meals on Wheels Plus Program offers an entirely new dimension of care and outreach to seniors.
I know our staff has been calling to find out who wishes to return to the daily, hot meals option. We are developing a plan for this, but as a first step, we have asked Gateway to begin their responsibilities June 1 with maintenance of the current schedule and meals. We felt this would be the smoothest transition.
As of June 1, 2015, when Gateway takes over responsibility, we are asking that you use the new meals phone number at Gateway which is (845) 331-2496.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call.
Warmly, Kelly McMullen, Director